Sunday, February 26, 2012

week 8 run recap - It's spring!

I'm sure there's some good reason for all this (about a 1/2 mile's worth of what you see below), but it's still always sad to see...

Above: the jail that's just down the street.  Below: the school where I work.  There's no significance to the juxtaposition of the images.  Really.  This week, I fought the urge to do no exercise but resigned myself to a short run on Wednesday so I could get back early enough to do some garden clean up on that glorious 68 degree afternoon.  A bit short of 2 miles, but still beat my time yet again for a 12.19 minute mile!  This morning, I lay in bed for about 40 minutes and successfully talked myself out of going on my scheduled long run.  Only the thought of breakfast souffles from Panera actually got me out of bed.

I've realized (yet again), that exercise is fantastic and makes me feel great, but there's just no way to actually lose weight and change the way I look (especially for apple shapes like me) without making changes to the daily diet - which is why tomorrow starts a 30 day eating plan per Jillian Michaels.  I'm not really a big fan or anything, but just bought the Ripped in 30 days DVD and am going to follow the eating plan too.  Watch out weeds cause in 30 days I'm going to be rrrrriiiippped and ready to do quadruple the amount of weeding and not even feel it the next day.  

It's spring!  Well, not quite, but my garden sure thinks so.  At this point, I'm not holding out for the snow any longer.  The daffs are up and I'm looking forward to spring!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Maryland Home and Garden Show (and giveaway!)

I need to share with fellow Marylanders (and neighbors) that the 
Spring Home and Garden Show is coming up March 3-4 and March 9-11 
at the Fairgrounds in Timonium.

The show's theme this year is "Books in Bloom." Local landscapers are
creating 17 gardens on display at the show based on popular books
including Harry Potter, The Hobbit and Under The Tuscan Sun. The show
also features the Maryland Orchid Society's Orchid Show & Sale, as
well as a mystery-themed flower show by the The Federated Garden Clubs
of Maryland.

Of course, there will also be hundreds of exhibitors at the show with
every conceivable product, technique and service to transform your
home and garden.

Also, there's a preview party to benefit Habitat for Humanity of the
Chesapeake on March 2.

But here's the best part, I'll have 2 free tickets at will call to the first person who
expresses interest.  Simply comment below -or- send me an e-mail at wkspray at gmail dot com.  

Sunday, February 19, 2012

week 7 run recap - and my musical tribute to the past

More pretty dried things blowing in the winter wind...

I was very excited because Verizon has an early upgrade program (for which they charge $20 to participate in), and I was going to get my new phone today!  I could have almost dealt with the photo quality of my Blackberry for a few more months (upgrade month is June), but what I can barely tolerate is listening to the same handful of songs over and over again.  See, when I got this Blackberry, by dumb luck, I was able to get some songs on my phone...and I have been running to these same songs for the past three years.  Now that I am trying to run more consistently, I've had just about enough!  Here's what I've been listening too over and over and over again - you'll marvel at my range of taste:  Santigold, Beastie Boys, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Miley Cyrus (The Climb is good.  For real), Major Lazer, Sean Kingston, N.E.R.D., Neon Trees, OK Go, MGMT, Wheezer, The Darkness, Kings of Leon, Gnarls Barkley.  I've tried different cords, chat rooms, manuals, but just can't figure out how to put any new songs on this phone.

I did not really want to run today.  Here's why: Last night, I stuffed my face with quesadillas and a Nachos Bell Grande from Taco Bell, and then topped that off with 2 cannolis.  Not smart to basically have a dinner of cheese since I'm a lactard.  After this morning's breakfast of Chick-n-mini's and hash browns, I was psychologically in no mood to run.  Like ever again.  However, I told myself that if I did, I would allow myself to get a new phone today.  Plus, more "wintry mix" is expected and if I didn't run today, then it wouldn't happen for a few days.

There's lots of news to report this week - good and bad.

Bad news - I was denied the phone.  Turns out other family members have used up the early upgrades and I must wait till June 5th after all.  GRRRRR!!!

Good news - I figured out how to get the music on my Blackberry!!!  I just took out the tiny memory card in my phone and stuck in in the adaptor to make it a normal sized memory card.  That went in the laptop's F drive.  Then, I bought songs, downloaded to a folder in my laptop and copy and pasted onto the F drive.

And other good news - This week I improved my running time yet again.  Monday and Wednesday I ran 2.85 miles at an average of 12.6 minutes a mile.  Today, I did 6.2 miles at an average of 12.58 minutes a mile.  Today, I felt a significant difference in my endurance (even with the horrible fuel I've provided my body) and though I usually do lots of stopping, I was like a freaking machine today and stopped to walk only short sections of inclines.  I was so pleased!

More on music:  so I was also able to figure out how to get CD's onto my phone as well!  I used to have a pretty decent collection of CDs in college, but once, my car was broken into and everything was stolen.  Then, when I replaced it all, my car was stolen and I lost everything again.  Now, I am growing a nice little collection for the 3rd time.  I'm not trying to replace this stuff on purpose, but in my husband's sentimentality, he picks up music for me when he goes on his weekly hunt for LP's.  He's replaced nearly most of my high school and college collection - sometimes in duplicate or triplicate.  I used to listen to some pretty cool music (and was equally diverse then!):  Rage Against the Machine, Lords of Acid, KMFDM, Meat Beat Manifesto, Nitzer Ebb (in 10th grade, my friend and I cried when tix to the show were sold out), PJ Harvey, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Ramones, Fugazi (just watched this video and feel instantly like I'm 15 again), Bad Brains (loved them - one of the first shows I went to - skip to minute 1 if you click the link), Ministry, Portishead, tons of Erasure, Bob (and even Ziggy! omg now I'm 14 and at camp in Massachusetts) Marley, 4 Non Blondes, UB40, Nirvana (am I taking you back or what?!) (wonder if I can find my old flannel shirt and army pants)...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

GBBD - February 2012

It was love at first sight when I saw this potted ivy at Whole Foods.  No price tag and I was sure it would be a total rip off, but it was very reasonably priced.  Cheap actually.  Isn't it gorgeous?

My hellebores are all in bloom...Here, the best way to enjoy them - floating in a bowl of water.  

Oh, this guy is so special to's why.  It will probably be about 20 years old this year!

Sunday's view of the vegetable garden.  Sometime very soon, Scamp's got to learn to refrain from peeing where the raspberries will grow.  

And an update on how Scamp's doing after rupturing a disk and having surgery - you can clearly see how he's doing from the footprints below.  Short of this evidence that he's still dragging a little, he's doing just as well as he probably ever will!

Finally, this tangram bloom was created by the 13 year old who, due to totally unacceptable second marking period grades, has lost the use of facebook and her cell phone.  All that's left for her to do is create things, talk to friends on the landline, and participating in real life once again.  

And for other real life blooms around the world, be sure to visit May Dreams Gardens!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

week 6 run recap

Dried wintry things taken with my horrible blackberry.

Thanks to those who comment or even bother to skim these run recaps!  I'm sure these posts are not terribly thrilling, but as I mentioned in week one, it's intended to keep me accountable. Hopefully it's somewhat interesting for you to see the photos of things around the neighborhood.  I don't know how much longer I'll be able to tolerate posting these poor quality photos - I'm actually embarrassed!

Mr. H commented that he read that only a very small percentage of people (like 1%) can run over 5 miles.  That's some interesting perspective.  Kelly also said that it's important to work on building stamina and that pace will come later.  Both comments (along with the other kind comments I've received) are very encouraging!

This week, I only ran once because we've had some tiny amounts of snow and "wintry mix".  Just enough to keep people from going out, but never enough to get out of school (and thus work for me).  Last night we had a bit more and this morning, I planned to do my long run, but with wind gusts blowing around the thin as dust layer of ice, and the 18 degree temps, I figured, let's just forget it.  Hopefully I'll make up for it this coming week.  Last Monday I ran 2.85 miles - 13.33 minute mile - best time yet!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Spring reading and a question for you

Angled luffa gourd - prepare by paring off the rough ridges

So I have some bits of news that I'm pretty excited to report:

  • First, I have an article coming out in a spring issue of Kiki Magazine.  It is THE magazine "for girls with style and substance".  In the article, I show girls how to build a 4x4 garden out of stone.  My teen may be in some of the photos so I'm eager for the issue to come out.  Kiki is a very cool magazine for girls in the...maybe 10-16 range?  In it, you'll see no advertisements, no quizzes about boys or kissing, it's artsy yet wholesome and of high quality.  You can subscribe to this mag or buy single issues at Barnes and Noble.  
  • I also have an article coming out in the spring issue of Heirloom Gardener magazine. This is a short article about the 8 Best Asian Vegetables to Grow.  Along with the (very subjective!) list, is a couple of recipes for readers to try.  This magazine can be found in many stores, including Whole Foods.  
  • Finally, I've been asked to be a presenter at the Maryland Master Gardener Training Day.  I'm kicking around the title "Beyond Bok Choy: How to Grow and Cook Chinese Vegetables".  For my 1.5 hour presentation, I'm planning to do a little powerpoint presentation about the wide variety of Chinese vegetables we can grow in our zone.  I'll focus on ones that most people may not know as well and will skip the more obvious one. Then, I'll do a little cooking demo and show how to prepare some of the veggies that might warrant a demo (like angled gourd, fuzzy melon).  Finally, for the last 15 minutes, we'll stand, walk around and the participants will get to sample some other things that I will bring.  So my question to you is - how can I make this a kick ass presentation?  What have you always wanted to know about Chinese vegetables - either growing or cooking?  What veggies would you be interested to learn more about?  Do you have a better title for the presentation?  Anything else I'm missing?  

Saturday, February 4, 2012

week 5 run recap

What in the world is living in this?

Straw...the promise of a new spring lawn

On Tuesday, I ran 2.63 miles in 30 minutes.  That is an average of a 11.4 minute mile!  This is great progress for me and meets my goal of 12 minutes per mile.  

Wednesday, I ran the same route and it took me 38 minutes.  This is an average of 14.4 minutes per mile.  WTF???!!!! I really thought I did better on this day.  I ran (as opposed to walking) more than the day before and I felt better and faster.  I guess I could have been tired from the day before?  Or... I could have miscalculated yesterday's run time.  Discouraging.  Very discouraging.  I'm trying to get over it and just move on.

Saturday, I ran more than I have in my life!  I did 6.2 miles in 88 minutes.  That's a 14.2 minute mile.  I just can't believe I ran that distance, but I will say that according to the race results from last year, I will literally be bringing up the rear if I don't improve my time.  Hoooo well.  There's still lots of time before the race.
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