Hi. Hey. Hello.
I’m really glad we’re doing this. I’ve missed you tremendously, and your words are comforting. While I love to think about you smelling the salty sea air every day, three time zones is maybe three too many. Just a thought.
I mentioned that I hadn’t run this far since March, but did you know that I haven’t run at all since June? I haven’t lifted, either. Actually, the only active thing I’ve been doing is hiking. Not to downplay my mountaineering, but its physical demands are very different. (Let’s not talk about how sore my calves and hips and glutes are from climbing 4000 vertical feet on Saturday. Shut. It. Down.)
I ran my 4x (10 minutes running, 1 minute walking), too. I got in 3.3 miles, and while that’s a tad demoralizing, I am being patient with myself. I am not going to compare myself to where I was. It was a hard summer for me, physically and emotionally. My running fitness will come back in time. I think you know these feels.
I ran around my neighborhood mostly. There were kids jumping on a trampoline, a couple other kids blasting Nikki Minaj from a stoop, and lots of families out for evening rides and strolls. Autumn is coming — some houses were burning wood fires, and I ran by another that smelled like warm mulled cider. I ran down to the river, and there were thickets of showy daisies all over. While I was running back home, I went by a house with some lavender out front, so I wove my hand through it and then smelled my fingers like a total creep. It made me think of you.
My apple tree is just about ready to pick. I’m thinking about making some apple sauce — I think they’re probably too soft for a pie.
I’m really glad we’re doing this.
PS — The last time we ran together, you were minutes away from becoming a marathoner. The time before that we ran four miles alone and you made me one of your famous breakfast spreads. The time before that was when I pooped in the woods (and you drank from a sprinkler… probably in front of the house with the dolphin mailbox).
I went on a brief rant about this on twitter, but it bears repeating —
I am SO ANGRY that I receive(d) lots of “oh, you lost weight! you look good!!” compliments from women when I am underweight and sick/recovering.
(Cut for potential ED triggers and length. Apologies to those on mobile!)
If you think someone looks good, do you really need to know why you think so? As if weight loss (or whatever causes someone to “look good” to you) will qualify your opinion? Whether they have lost weight or not, that does not change the fact that you think they’re looking good/healthy/happy/well… so do you really need to ask?
Gentle reminder that your opinions of other people’s bodies are not only irrelevant, they are potentially harmful.
Here is how to compliment someone: HEY, SHARON. I am so happy to see you smiling big again. I’ve missed your post-run/hike/workout sweaty smiles plastered all over my dash. I am proud of you, your hard work, and your incredibly positive attitude. You are a force!
As if giving a perfectly good kidney to a total stranger wasn’t enough of a distinction, it turns out that extreme altruists have bigger brains and are better than the rest of us at reading signs of distress in facial expressions.
From a very early age, I have known my mom’s wishes should anything ever happen to her: “Pull the plug if it comes to that. I don’t want any flowers — have people donate the money instead of wasting it on expensive arrangements. Donate everything that’s still usable.”
Last year, someone told me that she described me to friends as “one of the most Christlike people [she] knows.” I broke the news to her that I am actually agnostic, and she was stunned.
"How are you so good? How does your moral compass point in the right direction without Jesus and the church? How do you make the right decisions? How are you able to balance what you want and what others need?"
I always thought that I had just internalized all of the things that I had heard my mom say when I was growing up, but maybe there’s some biology in there, too. Nurture and nature. (As most things are.)
I post about donating blood as often as I do, because it’s incredibly important. It’s also easy to post about, because it’s an active and repeated choice that I make.
ANYWAY. This article reminded be that I’ve also been on the Be The Match marrow registry since 2007. I don’t think I have ever really mentioned it, because it’s something that you register for, and then you probably won’t ever hear about again. That said, it’s also incredibly important, and it’s very easy to do.
[Peer-reviewed journal referenced in article here.]
Monday, I see what you’re trying to do to me. You made me wake up to nightmares and you made me spill coffee all over the kitchen that I had just cleaned (before I was caffeinated, might I add). I get it. You want me to be miserable.
I’m righting the course, though. I refuse to let you win before 8 am, Monday.
Chocolate chocolate chip cupcakes with vanilla bean buttercream to the neighbors. A made bed for the first time in I-don’t-even-know-how-long. Clean dishes and clothes put away. Donning some flannel for good measure.
I am choosing to show you my daily satchel instead of my weekend pack. Mostly because my weekend pack is currently in complete disarray.
- Nalgene (sad & empty)
- Badger Balm
- Skullcandy ear buds
- Burt’s Bees x6 (l-r: coconut & pear, pink grapefruit, mango, pomegranate, vanilla bean, peppermint)
- Vera Bradley card holder
- bobby pins
- vanilla lip balm from a random local vendor in Seattle
- grapefruit and spearmint lip balm from a random local vendor in SLC
- Moleskin (mostly work) with grocery list
- ibuprofen, Exedrin, & eye drops
- spiral notebook (mostly personal) with assortment of incoming and outgoing post and a black Pilot G2 pen
- yellow highlighter, blue Sharpie, purple R.S.V.P pen
- original e-ink Nook in neoprene case
- leather satchel
The take away messages here are that: (1) I own a lot of purple things; (2) I like being able to write things down; and (3) I have a Burt’s Bees problem. (I highly recommend the vanilla bean flavor.)
I grew up in a single-parent family with four children.
During the week, my mom worked 8 hours a day on her feet in a deli, came home to see us get back from school, help us get some food started (spoiler alert: this is why I learned to cook), and then spent her evenings either going back to school (and staying up into the wee hours of the morning doing homework) or waitressing. Many nights, she would pay the babysitter most of the money she made that night, keeping only a few dollars for herself.
She spent her weekends toting us kidlets around town to soccer and lacrosse games, fitting in school work when she could, and waitressing some more.
For ten years, she has had her own classroom and has been working as a full-time teacher, but her district has kept her employed as a “permanent substitute” to save on budget — that is, she was a wage employee with no retirement plan, no sick leave, and no paid vacation of any sort. They knew she wouldn’t find gainful employment elsewhere (due to constant budget cuts), and they knew that if not her, they could find someone else to fill her role.
Her body, not being what it was ten plus years ago, cannot handle the physicality of waitressing anymore. The work is too hard on her knees and her shoulders, but she still found herself in need of supplemental income. Instead, she started working in retail, going straight from her full-time (in terms of hours) teaching job to her part-time job, sometimes only catching 2-3 hours of sleep between getting home from the retail job and having to wake up for school. She usually gave up most of her weekends, too.
Now, at 54 years old, ten years after she first received her special education degree (and her masters!), my momma finally has a permanent, salaried position this year. Just a few short years shy of retirement age, she can finally quit working side jobs and sleep more than 4-6 hours a night. To me, it’s ridiculous that she feels blessed by this change, but she does. And in a twisted way, it really is a blessing.
If you don’t need to sacrifice sleep in order to piecemeal a bunch of minimum wage jobs together to make ends meet for yourself and your family, take a moment to consider how very privileged you are.
You know that thing where you have a sort of non-romantic/non-sexual crush on someone you don’t actually know or interact with, and likely will never meet? What do we call that?
Tumblr. We call that Tumblr.
Let’s talk about bagels.
As a pretentious New Yorker, I take my carbohydrates very seriously — this includes both pizza and bagels. I have no shame in admitting as much. Just as pizza is not simply bread with sauce and cheese slapped on it, a bagel is not simply round bread with a hole in the middle. The ingredients and method used to create a realbagel are what sets it apart from that which you can buy at a grocery store or chain eatery (I’m looking at you, Panera + Einstein).
I couldn’t get a decent bagel in Utah, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. While this recipe is not perfect, it will get you about as close to New York bagels as humanly possible without building some of your own wooden bakeware.
The “secrets” to the New York bagel:
- Overnight proofing — a lot of bread doughs require 60-90 minutes of rest. For the best bagel results, you need to allow for a retarded fermentation. In a refrigerator, the fermentation process will happen more slowly, allowing the yeasty flavor to better permeate the dough. It will also allow the water content in the dough to be more evenly distributed. I’ve tried a more conventional dough proofing process, and the bagels stunk. Don’t shortcut this.
- Barley malt syrup — If you google bagel recipes, you will usually find that they call for a tablespoon or two of whatever sugar you have (typically either table sugar or honey). This is complete malarky. You need to use barley malt syrup. I have only been able to find it at Whole Foods, but I guarantee that without it, your bagels will just taste like rolls. If you’ve never had a New York bagel, you won’t care. If you have, you will notice that the taste difference is staggering.
- Poach before you bake — Real bagels are poached (boiled) in a solution containing barley malt syrup, salt, and baking soda. This gives the bagels their chewy external texture and their lovely golden sheen. Lazy/commercial bakers will skimp on this step by either brushing the bagels with a baking soda/water solution or omitting it entirely. Fools.
There are a couple of actual baking techniques involving baking the bagels on wooden boards and such, but these are advanced and not wholly necessary tricks of the trade. Honestly, while I think they would improve my bagels’ quality, I am too lazy for the time being. That said, if you don’t have a baking stone, I suggest that you get one ASAP, because these really don’t turn out as well when baked on a metal baking sheet.
Now that you understand what will be required of you, feel free to proceed forth to my carefully crafted (with the help of my professional bagel-baking father) bagel recipe at your own risk.