Monday, October 15, 2012

Coffeeneuring, ride 1

Monday, October 15th, the day of my very first coffeeneuring ride. I'm jumping on the bandwagon just a teensy bit late, but theoretically with plenty of time to complete the challenge. You can find this year's rules at  For the official record, my regular “weekend” days are Sunday and Monday.   

Due to both fitness and time constraints, I knew I had to keep this ride on the short side, so all told, I clocked a very modest 12.65 rather hilly miles.  The route I chose should have yielded some pretty decent landscape photos; unfortunately, the rather dull day did not produce the spectacular shots that I had hoped for.  Besides, in my opinion, the fall foliage around here is already past its peak.  Even so, it was a beautiful day to be out!  I chose “Dave’s Diner” to be my coffeeneuring rendezvous.  It is not the first time I’ve stopped at this diner on a bike ride and I’m sure it won’t be my last.  I ordered a small cup of pumpkin spice coffee and a homemade blueberry scone.  The day was mild enough for me to sit outside and enjoy both.  The coffee was the perfect drinkable temperature right out of the carafe (I don’t like my coffee so hot that I have to wait ten minutes for it to cool down so that I can drink it).  And the scone – it was just sweet enough, with excellent blueberry flavor and a tender, slightly moist texture.  Perfect.  I can’t wait for next week!

Great idea - coffeeneuring!

While reading through my blog list, I came upon this post which led me here.  Although I am late to the game, I am totally, enthusiastically, IN!  There are logistical difficulties, not the least of which is that I am way out of shape, but what better way to get back into things than with a little unofficial challenge of sorts.  This is going to be great!  I'm hoping for my first ride today, with my write-up to follow. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Good Days

I'm still happy.  I can't figure it out, but I'm loving it.  I managed my time effectively yesterday and had the time to take the dog for a two-hour long hike in the woods.  I wish I had a better photo, but his tolerance for sitting still for photos is limited.  As in non-existent.  But were were able to cover over 4 miles of trails, which is a pretty good clip when you consider all the time taken for sniffing! 

Since I'm back at work today, I don't have much for content.  But in looking through past entries, I noticed that I have posted recipes from time-to-time.  I'll include one that I made this past Sunday.  It has tarragon vinegar in it, which some people might not like, but if you are tolerant of tanginess, give it a whirl.  It's tasty!

Chicken and Artichokes
Yield: 6 Servings

      6    Boneless chicken breasts
      1 c  Bread crumbs, seasoned
    1/2 c  Olive oil
    1/4 c  Tarragon vinegar
      4    Garlic cloves
      3 T  Parsley, chopped
      2    Jars artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half
           (I just use the 15 oz can, the un-marinated kind, in brine)

  Cut chicken into bite size pieces and roll in bread crumbs. Heat oil
  and saute garlic to a golden color and remove. Add chicken, saute to
  a light brown on both sides. Place chicken in a large baking dish,
  add sauteed garlic, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Sprinkle with parsley.
  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Add artichokes and bake 10
  minutes more.

(Recipe via Meal-Master (tm) v8.05)
Like most main dish recipes, this is quite amenable to quantity adjustments.  Since I'm only cooking for two, I purchase the "standard" two chicken breasts (maybe a little over 1.5 pounds?  I never actually pay attention).  I then cut back on the olive oil, probably closer to 1/4 cup, though I never bother to measure.  I keep the garlic somewhere around 4-5 cloves, never fewer than four, though!  I increase the tarragon to a full cup, though that might be a bit strong for some.  I like to have a little more juice, though, so perhaps a compromise would be 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup water.  I also put the whole shebang into the oven to start baking while I snip and chop the parsley (about ten minutes).  The recipe doesn't state any preferences for baking covered or uncovered, so here's what I do.  Bake uncovered for the ten minutes you're chopping parsley.  Add the parsley and cover for 20 minutes.  Then add the artichokes and bake for the final ten minutes uncovered.  Serve over rice. 

Monday, October 8, 2012


1440 minutes in a day.  Of those possible minutes I need to sleep 480 of them.  That leaves 960 minutes for productive activities.  Why, then, am I consistently complaining that there is not enough time to get things done?  Clearly it is because I fritter away time in unproductive activities.  My biggest culprit?  The internet.  I rationalize my time spent on the internet as "research".  But my problem is that I tend not to retain much of what I read online.  For instance, a fair amount of my time yesterday was spent researching sloth anatomy.  What did I learn?  They have a four-chambered stomach and their muscular structure is predominantly retractor muscles, not extensor muscles.  Anyway, I digress from the original intent of today's post; which I had intended to be more along the lines of the idea of a "time budget."  I am really careful about how I spend my money, proud to say that I am actually frugal with my money.  I've never actually set up a budget per se, but I track almost every penny that I spend.  Why can't I be that diligent with my time?  As I was sitting here, I deducted that it's because the money is tangible (although as we get farther and farther away from a cash society, that is debatable.  But a subject for another day!), but time is not.  So I am trying an experiment today. 

Here I have 32 little "buttons".  As captioned, one for each half-hour in "my" day.  (As stated above, I need 8 hours of sleep each night, leaving me with 16 awake hours.)  Breaking that into half-hour increments seemed reasonable, since most of my tasks run at least that long.  Breaking it into smaller increments seemed too cumbersome.  As each 1/2 hour ticks away, one more button is removed from the bowl.  So far, this has served to sharpen my focus.  Perhaps as I start to get more organized, I won't need the visual reminder, but it's a good start for now.  I do want to mention that I ran across a web site that I'd like to explore further...  This seems like a concept that would work for me.  When I get time to try it, that is!  Next up is to refine my method for prioritizing and assigning times to my tasks, thus increasing my time budget's effectiveness.  As always, a work in progress; but I'm happy as long as there's progress!


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Damn you, depression!

Ok, for those of you still following, yes - I'm still here.  I've spent most of the past 3.5 years in a funk.  I don't know if it was depression, since I never actually went to a Dr.  So maybe depression is too strong a word.  Whatever, I don't know.  What I do know is that I wasn't myself.  Normally optimistic, I was moody and unhappy.  I tried hard to hide it from friends and co-workers (especially co-workers, since I was in a new job and I wanted to make a good impression).  But due to some enormous life events, I was stressed!  Would you like a synopsis? 

In April 2009, I was notified that the company I worked for was transferring my department to either New Jersey or Indiana.  I loved this job!  LOVED IT.  But neither of us wanted to move to either region.  So I started looking for other jobs.  This took awhile (in fact, it took a full year).  In January 2010, we discovered that our Bernese Mountain Dog (then 6.5 years old) had a thoracic mass.  Sure, we could have chosen surgery, but that seemed like too much to put her through, especially since she was asymptomatic and I was still looking for a new job. 

 In May 2010, I started what seemed like a dream job (though the voices in my head told me nothing about this job was going to be easy.  Boy, were they right!).  It has taken me two and a half years to feel like I'm getting my head above water in terms of keeping ahead of my workload.  Currently there are two things spurring me forward.  1.  My job is pretty unique and special  and 2.  I keep getting a little further ahead day-by-day.  I figure if I stick with it, I'll eventually be caught up!  As far as the job goes, I am a veterinary technician for a small zoo.  We are AZA accredited and maintain a collection of around 1,000 animals. One of the biggest detriments is that I've always been able to commute to work by bicycle (at least during the summer.  I've only had one job where I was able to commute year-round).  However, due to several factors, I haven't yet been able to commute to this job (largely due to distance, terrain, traffic, irregular hours, and right now a lack of fitness).

In December 2010, my boyfriend and I decided to get married.  Yes, good stress, but stress nonetheless.  It was a small affair with absolutely no fanfare.  Perfect.

Regular checkups on our dog showed that the mass was growing, but not at an alarming rate and she was still asymptomatic for the most part.  In hindsight, I believe now that she was exhibiting signs of discomfort, but we were unable to definitively put it together.  I will know better in the future.  She was still active and loved her walks, especially in the winter (though deep snow really tired her out and there were times I actually left her home, knowing she would be too tired). 
In June 2011, I came across a dog in the middle of a downtown intersection.  I was on my way to work, but luckily had enough time to stop and coax him into the car.  He was wearing a harness and trailing a broken leash, so I felt certain that somebody would be looking for him.  I put out notices in as many places as I could think, but nobody ever came forward.  He has some issues (separation anxiety and thunderstorm phobia), but with the help of a product called "Composure", we're making progress.  We used to have to keep him in a crate while we were away, but he is reliable enough to leave with full house access now.  This is huge!

In July 2011, I had appendicitis with complications and was out of work for 3 weeks.  By November/December 2011, our dog was starting to tell us that she wasn't feeling well.  She was less enthusiastic about her walks and her appetite started decreasing.  Repeat radiographs showed that the mass had not only enlarged, but it had spread.  I was devastated and started to question whether we should have put her through surgery back in 2010.  I'm still glad we didn't, but the doubts were there nonetheless.  By February, she had really lost her zest and her appetite.  We couldn't let her go on, and elected euthanasia.  I am at peace with our decision, but I can honestly say that I miss her every day.  I am so glad that Norman found us when he did...without him the house would have been unbearable. 

In June of 2012, my father faced a health crisis.  I spent a few weekends helping out my folks as much as I could, culminating in staying for about a week in August while my dad was in ICU.  Dad was in pretty rough shape and decided to enter home hospice.  I helped them out for several more days, until they got to the point that they could manage on their own.  The good news is that he's doing much better and has been kicked out of the hospice program as of October! 

At present, I am riding a wave of complete optimism and happiness.  The only real changes I've made is that I finally sat down and let go of some volunteer commitments and have made concrete plans for getting back into a fitness regime.  I don't know if it was possible that I was clinically depressed....the really weird thing is that I can pinpoint an exact moment when my attitude changed from one of merely existing, to one of optimism.  That happened this past Tuesday morning.  I was preparing my lunch and it was like a switch flipped back "on".  Was it just that sufficient time had passed in order to allow my body and mind to process all the stress?  Is it possible to be depressed and get better without medication?  I really don't know, but to anybody who may stumble upon this because they're feeling similarly disillusioned; don't give up hope.  Things will get better. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lost dog, Syracuse NY

I'm trying to get word out as far and as wide as possible about this little guy.  He was found Saturday morning, at the intersection of West St. and W. Fayette St. on Syracuse's west side. 
(Full map link here)

He's a neutered male, short-haired dog, possibly has some Shiba Inu in him.  He weighs 29 pounds, has reddish-blonde hair, erect ears and a tail that curls over his body.  He's house-trained, though he seems to prefer being outdoors.  I'd love to be able to reunite him with his rightful owner.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Dog's Purpose

I've recently finished reading "A Dog's Purpose" by W. Bruce Cameron.
This book was highly recommended by a co-worker, and I was not disappointed.  This fictional novel tells the story of a dog who finds himself reincarnated and decides there must be a reason, a purpose he must fulfill; and until he does so, he’ll continue to be reborn.  There is no shortage of similar books (Marley and Me, The Art of Racing in the Rain, Merle's Door), but this one stands head and shoulders above the rest.  It was easy to identify with the human characters, and the emotions "voiced" by the dog were engaging and realistic.  This would be fantastic summer beach reading!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fenner Wind Farm

The turbines from a distance

The weather today was absolutely gorgeous! Mid-seventies with low humidity and plenty of sunshine. I decided to head towards the wind turbines for my ride today. Apparently I will never get tired of looking at these mammoth feats of engineering, because they're frequently on my choice of bike routes. Can you blame me?

Lone Sentry

Group shot

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Life Happens

Wonder of wonders, I've returned to this blog. I hadn't forgotten about it, but it seemed life just hadn't been too terribly interesting to anybody but myself. I started a new job a year ago that has been taking up a tremendous amount of time and energy, leaving very little time for extraneous activities. Even my cycling suffered greatly. But now I'm settling into the new job, leaving me time to get back into the things I love and I'm sure my motivation will spike once again. I still have no plans for a triathlon this year, and I likely will not even do any road races. I'm looking at building base through the summer so that I can peak for cyclocross season. (Read - "peak" for me is definitely "b-o-p" in CX, but who cares, right? At least I'm out there!)

Here's a scene from last summer shot from the bicycle. Hopefully more to come from this year. I do love our rolling farmland around here!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Anonymity (or not)

When I started this blog, I was uneasy about the idea of certain people from my past being allowed glimpses into my present life.  I had the notion that I could remain anonymous.  However, it didn’t take me long to realize that wasn’t the case.  Partly due to the loss of anonymity and partly due to some serious shake-ups in my life, I let the blog slide.  But, I really miss blogging.  I miss sharing my thoughts, my photographs, and my life.  So, if mean-spirited people read this, so be it.  I’m going to continue to share. 

In time, I will update snippets from the past year.  Yes, my half-iron plans fell through.  I’m not sure when or even, if, I will try to resurrect those plans.  After much thought, and given my desire to live lightly on the planet, I’ve decided triathlons are counter-productive to the “green” movement.  I might still decide to do one every now and then, but right now, the desire is pretty weak.  I still bicycle quite a bit and run occasionally.  I’d like to make a serious effort to increase my running, though, which should happen this year.  I’d like to do the Mountain Goat again and possibly the Cazenovia 10-miler again.  I love the simplicity of running – just lace up your sneakers and go.  We’ll see how these plans turn out, since they’re contingent on my employment situation.  I will post more on that next time.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Family time

I spent yesterday walking. And standing. And more standing. And more walking. My brother and his family came in from out of town to go to a farm show. So, even though I'm not a farmer, I went in order to spend time with them and especially my six-year old niece. We had a blast. We even went to a local mall which has the same carousel that we all used to ride as kids (from Roseland Park, in Canandaigua). More still photos can be found here. So it was a lot of "firsts" for my niece. I think she enjoyed the carousel, but the big hit of the day seemed to be the escalator. We went up and back down about six times, maybe more; I honestly lost count of how many times. We provided amusement to many people sitting and resting by the escalators. I was absolutely exhausted by the time I got back home. I ate dinner, nearly falling asleep at the table. I went to bed right after dinner and slept ten hours! Parents, you have my ultimate respect! It is work having to keep up with a six-year old. I think I'm well-prepared for my half ironman, after yesterday!!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Reality check

In my last entry I was filled with optimism. I had just started an official training plan and I had a gung-ho, full speed ahead, make-every-minute-count mentality. Today I am drained. And yesterday was a rest day. All I did was walk the dog. I'm left wondering if this trip towards Ironman will be worth it. Thankfully, I have 5 months of half-ironman training before I have to make a decision about entering the full-Ironman. Thankfully, too, I have a wonderfully supportive and understanding boyfriend. It's going to be an interesting ride.....(and swim, and run)!

Sunday, February 1, 2009


I have now officially started my training for my half-ironman in July. I am trying to figure out how to squeeze eleven hours of training into the upcoming week. Ah yes, life will indeed be very busy for me for the next six months, but I am so mentally prepared for the journey that I will find a way to make enough time for training. I have pledged that every minute of every day will have a purpose. Very lofty, I know. But I do best under pressure, so I'm looking forward to the challenge.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Remember a couple of posts ago when I was talking about increasing my training mileage which left little time for the internet? Hah! I haven't even been keeping track of my computer time the past three days, because I found a new diversion. Facebook. I have been re-connecting with friends whom I had totally lost contact with. I know once the initial catching-up has been done, then I will spend less time on the site, but I must admit I've been obsessed the past couple of days. Initially I was concerned about privacy issues, but you can restrict access to your page to only people you identify as friends. Your name will be displayed on a search, and people can view your friends list, but that's all, unless you choose otherwise. Pretty sweet!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Early-morning awakenings

Last night our dog wanted to be let outside in the wee hours of the morning. Being that I am a very heavy sleeper, she had to nudge me several times to bring me fully awake. Reluctantly, I got up and let her outdoors. She did her thing and came back inside. As I was crawling back into the toasty warm bed, I was reminded of my days as a kid when we were raising sheep. Since my brother and I both showed the sheep at the county fair, we tried to plan the breeding so that the lambs would be born in January or February (the coldest months of the year in upstate New York, but also allowed for more time for growth of the lambs). When a mother sheep was approaching her due date, we would watch carefully for impending labor because all too frequently, momma sheep needed our help to deliver successfully. Usually my mother and I would split the task of waking up in the middle of the night to go check on the sheep. What willpower it took to crawl out of bed, put on warm clothes and trudge to the barn to check on the expectant mother! More often than not, the sheep was not in labor and we could go back inside and go back to bed. It was delightful to slip back underneath the covers and drift back to sleep. After a couple of years of trudging to the barn in the middle of the night, my father rigged up closed-circuit television cameras and monitors so that we could just roll over, turn on the monitor and check out the sheep from the comfort of our beds. Ahhh, we were really spoiled then! Of course, it wasn't always perfect; try as we might to get the camera so that it covered the whole enclosure, the expectant mother would sometimes manage to get out of the view of the camera, thus ensuring that we would have to trudge to the barn anyway. And sometimes the resolution of the image wasn't clear enough to make a determination that everything was all-okay and we'd have to go check the situation out in person. What fun we had!