Monday, April 29, 2013

My Running Legs Are Powered By The Promise of Almond Croissants

So, there's this run I like to do from my house to the coffee shop that makes the almond croissants.   It's a gorgeous run. It traces the shoreline for the first half. It ends at the coffee shop that makes the almond croissants.  The views of the Olympic Mountains can be amazing on a clear morning. It ends at the coffee shop that makes the almond croissants.  I run past horses out in their pastures, ponds with ducks swimming in circles, sheep hanging out in the field, and herons standing in the shallows of the water waiting for their breakfast to swim by. But, best of all, IT ENDS AT THE COFFEE SHOP THAT MAKES THE ALMOND CROISSANTS*!!!

And, whenever I run there, I order an almond croissant, with abandon, because, 1) Jon and the kids come and pick me up so I don't have to run home with a belly full of awesomeness and 2) I thought I was running a nine mile route. Which, in my book, is plenty of mileage to justify inhaling a flaky buttery pastry stuffed full of almond paste while knocking back mug after mug of coffee. (Dude! Up high for free refills!) But I was wrong.  It's not a nine mile route.  It's a 43.4 mile route.  Which, according to RunKeeper on my phone, I ran in under two hours this weekend.  So, basically I looked like this:

But way cooler, because I maintained that pace for 43.4 miles. (In your face Usain Bolt!) Because technology doesn't lie.

And then, after collapsing  sweatily, in a chair surrounded by plates of veggie quiche, almond croissants and mugs of coffee, I had this conversation with Katie:

Me: (shoveling almond croissant AND veggie quiche into my mouth, because I just ran 43.4 miles) I ran 43.4 miles! That means I can eat anything I want!

Katie: (pausing in the careful, and delicate, eating of her grapes) No you can't.

Me: (still shoveling and guzzling) Yes I can!

Katie: (placing her grape, carefully, back down on her plate) No, Mommy, you can't.

Me: (adding an extremely attractive "Pshaw! Whatever!" look to my shoveling and guzzling) Yes. I can. My phone said so!

Katie: No, you can't, because you can't eat 100 hats. (And then she went back to eating her grapes. Victoriously.)

Well played my Katie kid. Well played indeed.

*And, dude, I am not kidding. These almond croissants are almost as good as the croissants they used to sell at the other coffee shop with the church pew, which was completely awesome because my feet could touch the ground and I could spread out my papers on either side of me while I wrote so my fork could have maximum access to the most wonderful almond croissants IN THE WORLD! But then the owner sold the coffee shop and someone else bought it and when the baker came to ask if they still were interested in ordering their almond croissants they said no. Because they were insane. And possibly, a closet almond-paste-wrapped-in-layers-of-flaky-buttery-pastry-drizzled-with-frosting-and-lightly-dusted-with-sliced-almonds-hater. And by possibly, I mean obviously. Obviously.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Three Pictures For Boston And One For Me

I remember walking the streets of Boston when I visited the city years ago. I remember wandering the old cemeteries, climbing Bunker Hill, running down Hull Street toward the Old North Church reciting "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" (Yes. I'm a dork.). I remember stopping, refilling my water bottle and sneaking in a bonus reading session at the most beautiful library I had ever seen. I remember walking out of that library and finding the finish line to the Boston Marathon. Painted. Right there. On the street! I may have stood there, staring, imagining myself, one day, running across that very line. For an, hem hem, abnormally long time.... People may have begun to give me weird looks. I may also have turned around, walked into a running store and bought the best souvenir ever! A sports bra. I may have also worn that sports bra for way too long, insisting it was THE BEST SPORTS BRA IN THE HISTORY OF EVER, because, obviously, Boston knows running bras.

But then Monday happened. And, as I laced up my running shoes to head out on a training run for my half marathon in June, I thought. I thought about how three people, ridiculously young, were never going to get to chance to choose to run again. Three people who were never going to get the chance to wander around my running hood, marveling at the beauty I get to run through every day, like I once did through theirs.
Never get to watch the Olympic Mountains emerge on the skyline as they run over the bridge.

Never get to run past the red leafed bushes in spring at sunset. 

Never get to run along the marina waterfront while the ferry comes in to dock.

Never get to share their love of running with their kids. 

 "Scripture tells us to run with endurance the race that is set before us. As we do, may God hold close those who have been taken from us too soon, may He comfort their families and may He continue to watch over these United States of America." -President Barack Obama, at the interfaith healing service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, April 18, 2013.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

If Only Bundt Cakes Weren't So Complicated

So, hey, what about this whole spring thing, huh? (nods head, gives knowing look)  I know, dude! It's here!  And woo boy has it been exciting!!

Obviously! Because the other night I had the greatest dream! I mean, I even woke up with one of those happy, little, that-was-the-greatest-dream-in-the-history-of-dreams-smile on my face.  See, in my dream, there I was, kneeling in the flower bed in front of my house, digging through the dirt with my bare hands pulling out root after root after root of crab grass, and, as the weeds mounded higher and higher in my Disney princess bucket (stolen from the children) I felt a calm, a rightness, a connectedness to all of nature descend over my very soul.

And then I woke up.  And realized the best dream I'd had in weeks was about weeding.

No. Seriously. Weeding, people. W-e-e-d-i-n-g.

Stop reading and let that sink in for a minute.





Ok. That's enough sinkage. You can start reading again.

And not even weeding the area around something pretty in my yard, like my Weeping Cherry Tree. Oh, no! Instead, I dreamed about weeding the area in the middle of The Stupid Bush.  Which, yes, is it's real name.  Because any bush who's not smart enough to keep the middle of itself alive in a place that gets, on average, 52 inches of rain a year doesn't deserve a cool name like Weeping Cherry Tree. Stupid gluttonous northwest vegetation....

Obviously, this is unacceptable.  Because normal people don't dream about weeding.  They dream about being a race car driver, or eating the world's largest chocolate peanut butter Easter egg without getting nauseous, or being back in college and telling that freaky English professor to shut up about how smart he is and just teach the class and also TO QUIT STARING AT YOU ON THE BUS, FREAK MAN!, and maybe, now and then, a dream about puppies. Because they're cute. But weeding? No. Just no.

Luckily, my kids like to pick out random books for me from the library in order to expedite their own journey to the children's section, and they had picked out the perfect antidote: The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer.  That's right.  Tonight it's SPY DREAMS!

Now, before I go any further, don't spoil it for me, because I haven't finished the book yet. And for the love of all that is good! don't tell me why an eight month pregnant woman was touring Venice by herself, somehow runs in to a double agent, becomes friends enough with him to find herself in the middle of a cross fire while the good guys try to bring that rogue agent in, and when the double agent is gunned down on the streets of Venice, basically right before her eyes, goes into premature labor, births a daughter, and then ends up marrying the good guy spy fake-named (obviously) Charles Alexander,who had been shot three times (twice in the chest) by the double agent and was bleeding to death (but didn't die!) beside her mere weeks later! Because the answer to that has got to be the key to solving this whole puzzle!

However, after reading part of the book, I've come to realize, most international (and probably non-international) espionage can be thwarted by a good old fashioned block party. And the occasional slice of bundt cake over a cup of coffee.

Case in Point 1:

Spy says: "Oh, wow.  That's super.  Listen, can I use your bathroom? I've been waiting for my girlfriend, Marie, all day.  She just called and it looks like I've got another half hour.  You mind?"

Neighbor says: Sure. By the way, is Marie the one with the wooden leg or the urban chickens? You know what, who cares! Come on in! Feel free to break into her apartment while you pretend to use my bathroom! Mi Casa es su casa!

What the neighbor should have said: Um. Dude. Marie doesn't even have a boyfriend. She hasn't felt emotionally stable enough since the Estonian Count dumped her on her birthday four months ago! I mean, I can't even count the nights I've spent with her, crying into pints of Chunky Monkey, mocking every endearment he ever said in the voice of the count from Sesame Street. Walk on, spy. Walk on.

Case in Point 2:

Spy says: "Uh, excuse me. I'm here about Angela Yates. She's my sister."

Neighbor: Let's out an audible gasp, then buzzes the spy in.

What the neighbor should have said: You're a spy.  Go away.  Angel never had a sister.  Only guinea pigs.  And a parakeet that one summer.

Case in Point 3: 

Spy says: Hold the door, please! I need to get in and check the foundation and make sure it's earthquake certified!

Neighbor says: Holding!

What the neighbor should have said: The building super got that paperwork last week! You're a spy here to replace poor Angela's sleeping pills with poison! You just want to kill her! Murderer! Spy! Bring your pitchforks! Bring your overheated hair dryers! Bring your baseball bat! Charge, neighbors! CHARGE!!

Aaaannnnd. Point proven.

Now, excuse me, I have some weeding to do. In my front yard. In the middle of my neighborhood. Not because I want to see if I can recreate the utter peaceful perfection of my weeding dream in my waking hours. Obviously. But, because, um... I have an international spy to catch? Yeah, that's it! And there simply isn't enough time to bake a bundt cake.