Wednesday, April 20, 2011

spring scenes in the city

I'm a country girl of sorts. But I find beauty in cities. There's something about a metropolitan skyline, juxtaposed with earthly elements, that just heightens your awareness of the natural beauty around us. A pink sunset reflecting off a glass building. An apple blossom canopy over a dingy old fire hydrant. Yes, there is beauty in these things.

Here are some images that I took recently (on my phone no less), one in Burlington, a couple in New York. Perhaps it's the dirty, man-made city stuff framing Mother Nature in such an unexpected way that makes her look even more charming and awe-inspiring.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

running in the rain

For many people, I think inclement weather is considered good reason enough to put off a workout. Not me though. I don't even need that excuse. For me, a mere "I'm tired," is enough to keep me from putting on my running shoes.

But the rain, I could run in the rain all day. I love the cool, wet on my face. The sound of puddles splashing as I pass by. The verdant landscape all around me that seems to pop with a bright spring green in big contrast to the gray skies above.

I think this rain-running love started way back when I was training on the ski and cross-country teams in school. When you're training, you don't just not run because it's raining. Your coach will see to that. So you learn to enjoy it.

But like I said before, it's not bad weather that holds me back. It's my excuses and lack of motivation. Without a coach around to hold me accountable, I'm realizing that I need a support system to keep me going when "I'm too tired" seems to roll off the tongue so easily these days. So the other day, my sisters and I decided to be each others' support systems.

But today, on the first day of the new motivated me, I texted them to see if they wanted to go running with me after work. Turned out neither of them could make it. I was feeling sorry for myself. For a little bit. But the thing about a support system is this: when all else fails you need to be able to support yourself.

So tonight I left work with all intentions to go running. I got home, fed the cats. I was hungry, so I had a snack. I could feel the urge to run waning with every minute I stalled. So I bargained with myself: "just go for a walk and if you feel like running, you can." That was enough to get me out the front door. But as soon as I got outside it started raining. A good, solid, steady rain. "I can't walk in this," I thought to myself. So I started running. I ran the whole way and got home drenched and hot and chilly all at the same time. But it felt so good. And I was so proud of myself for just doing it. All by myself. So I wanted to celebrate this little moment somehow. So here it is: I went running. Yay!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

springish pasties

The kind of spring we've had this week—the cold drizzle and whipping wind, the smell of damp earth, the robin redbreast hopping about the mud puddles—reminds me of England. In particular, it reminds me of a walk along a certain Dorset footpath and through the wild windswept pastures of Worth Matravers, which slope down to the sea in a disquieting fashion.

It was after (or before? I can't quite remember) that walk, we stopped by the local pub for some of what our Uncle Richard told us were the best Cornish pasties and cider around. They certainly were. It was on that day that many traditions unfolded, not the least of which our famed Butterboots. I often think upon that day with such fondness and nostalgia. I would love to go back... But in the meantime, here is the Cornish pasty recipe that I tried to recreate with mixed success and which I'm thinking of trying again for a pasties & cyder night very soon.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

powder on the mount

One of the popular courses of discussion at my work, besides food of course, is the weather. That probably goes without saying at many a workplace. Especially with such a snowy winter as we have had. And what I've noticed from these kinds of conversations is that you can immediately detect the skiers and riders from everyone else. They're the ones that, when April 1 rolls around and the weather service puts out a winter storm warning predicting 6-8 inches of snow, are crossing their fingers for powder. Whereas everyone else just gets depressed. I belong to the former group.

So yesterday at work, when the only wet coming from the sky was a cold, damp rain, and some anti-snowy colleagues began to gloat, "I knew that forecast couldn't be true," I found myself slightly annoyed. "I'll show them!" I thought to myself and set my alarm clock for 6:45 a.m. this morning (Saturday). I dragged myself out of bed and called the Stowe line. They had 6" of fresh snow! With Colin on the other side of the world and my snowboarding friends out of town, I packed up my stuff and went to Stowe solo.

I found a quiet untouched corner and had powdery trails all to myself. "Where is everyone?" I wondered. I guessed they were probably back at home cleaning up their yards for spring. Or taking a run in the mud and puddles. Not me though, I was enjoying full-on winter up there.

I took some pics with my phone and texted them to Col. "Pow! Wishing you were here." He was just about to have dinner in Hong Kong. "Having pre dinner drinks overlooking HK," he texted back. (That text'll cost $0.25). I was about to ride a trail that's only open when there's lots of snow, because of all the rocks and drops. First time I tried it was with Col during the epic March snowstorm. Second time was now, by myself. So I sent another pic to prove I was doing it. He wrote back, "Wow... that's unfair! Shred the pow pow!" (Another $0.25, but so worth it: I miss my boy and having that little conversation was the next best thing to having him there with me.)

I wish I could say I stayed there all day, but after a couple of hours I was tired and ready to go home. And by that point, the snow was getting chunky and wet and slow. No, didn't last long, but it was long enough to get outside and enjoy this beautiful paradise we live in.

As I drove back to Burlington, the snow began to recede. It was a totally different world and climate less than an hour away. I walked up to my back door and noticed that the huge pile of snow that had accumulated on top of our garden is almost totally melted. I picked up a couple of stray papers that had blown around onto the yard and underneath one of them I found fresh green 2" shoots sprouting out of the dead chive patch from last year. My chives are up!

Winter at the mount, spring in the valley. I can live with that. It's the best of both worlds.

Friday, April 01, 2011

from scratch: homemade pizza

I'm trying to make more things from scratch. But, you know, I'm such a perfectionist, I've had this mental block with certain things that are out of my comfort zone. Like pizza dough. Active yeast? Scary. But as soon as I tried it a couple of times and experimented with different flours, I started feeling more comfortable with the process. I even found a great recipe from work that you can make in your food processor (even the kneading!). Here's my creation that I made for dinner tonight: homemade dough and fresh spring veggies, including spring garlic from the hot dudes at Jericho Settlers Farm, shitakes from the guy in Colchester, spinach and arugula. Yum!

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