Monday, December 19, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Weekend - Rancho Siempre Verde Tree Farm

Yesterday we spent the afternoon at one of our favorite holiday places: Rancho Siempre Verde tree farm! It's the perfect place to spend a little time playing in the hay bales and on the swings, roasting and eating marshmallows by the enormous fire pit, and making wreaths!  We lucked out with the weather, because we had high fog from our house all the way to Pigeon Point Lighthouse, but it was sunny at the tree farm.

View from the top of the hill, toward the ocean

One of the gazillion swings hung from the trees

Someone liked building hay forts with a bunch of new pals

View of the wreath-making tables and the fire pit

Mmmmm!  S'more time!

Time for Pubsgal to make a wreath...

Why do we torture these children with such boring outings?

A ride on the swings can be so Zen...

Things on swings!

(Yes, Mom and Dad were on this outing, too)
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Monday, December 5, 2011

2011 Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Run 5K Race Report and Other Stuff

She's ALIVE!!!

It's a small, pre-Christmas miracle:  I have a few minutes to put together a blog post!  Woot!

Naturally, I have about 5 gazillion things I've been wanting to blog about.  But since there are probably about 50 gazillion other things I should be doing right now (like sleeping), I think I'll stick to just a few things I've been wanting to catch up on for awhile now...

December Already?!?

Aaaaiiiieee!  Aaaaiiieeee!  
It's time for The Tree!!!

We've got the tree and the lights up, and most of the kids' gifts purchased, but we're facing the annual quandary:  what photo for our cards this year?  Hopefully we'll have some nice weather next weekend, so that we can figure out a family photo.  Maybe at our favorite tree farm, Rancho Siempre Verde...where we never buy a tree, because we have an artificial one, but where we go to make wreaths, roast marshmallows, and ride on the tire and rope swings.

2011 Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Run - Race Report

My 4th Pumpkin Run! I love this race - it was the first one I did when I was regaining my fitness, and so it has a special place in my heart. I'd been revisiting the Couch-to-5K program, because I had felt like I'd lost a lot of my running capacity this year, and I was in week 5.  So my main goals this year were to have fun, to finish, and to feel grateful that I didn't have any injuries to keep me from running it this time.

We'd had the most gorgeous week we'd had all year, and yet...Sunday, October 16, 2011 dawned grey and overcast.  Not too cold, and it didn't threaten to rain like last year.  But it seems like every year the race is overcast.  Sing it with me:  tra-di-TION!  TRADITION!

This year's was enjoyable, as always, and I think this one was the biggest one yet!  I counted, in the results, 556 people in the 5K and 272 in the 10K! The female 40-49 group is the biggest by far, in both races.

There were a ton of people milling around before the race, enjoying the usual pre-race goodies.  I was enjoying the pre-race lines at the ladies' room!  The kids' race was the usual cuteness many beaming faces running across the finish line.  I also enjoyed all of the pumpkin attire-hats and shirts-and one group of ladies had gone with a "wicked witch" theme: bright green t-shirts with witches and the stencilled words, "Wicked Witch of the South Bay," North Bay, East Bay, etc.  Another thing I noticed this year were some tutus!  Tutu'd running seems to have finally reached the coastside.

(Oh!  I just found a very cool YouTube video of the race.  Click here to see what it's like!  I especially liked seeing the PUMPKINS group's approach to the finish line, which I didn't get to see in person at the race.)

I discovered this year the problem with an unchipped race.  I was in the bathroom when it started, and trotted across the starting line right behind the walkers.  Unfortunately, I didn't take a peek at the starting line clock, so I will never know what my true time was for the race.  But I am proud that even though I didn't even come close to a PR, and though I hadn't finished the C25K, I ran just about all-only a short walk at the water station-and I didn't have anything left in my tank by the end.  I think my favorite part was chatting with the runner I'd been leap-frogging during the race, a relatively new mom who had just done C25K and who was running her first race!  I had kept a look out for some of my hula class friends, but it turns out they had run the 10K instead; I did see several of my kids' preschool friends' families.  I love that in this race, there always seem to be a few familiar faces.

By my watch, I finished in around 36 minutes, but my official time was 38:15.
Finished? Check!
Had fun? Check!
Felt grateful to be out there and running? Check!
Wish I'd trained a little better?  Check!  But that'll just make me hungrier to do better next year, right...? ;-)
 Here's to #4, and hopefully many more!

Random Item, Filed Under "Coincidences That Seem Contrived"

Do you ever have incidents in your life that are coincidental, but seem otherwise?  I was out of one of my lunchtime walks one day, about a month ago.  Mr. Handsome-and-Handy and I had been grumpy with each other that morning, and I was thinking about how sad I felt about it.  Then, there in my path, was this lone leaf.  I saw it as a sign that I was so loved, even when I didn't feel like it.  I also see it as a good sign that I jumped to the "heart-shaped" conclusion.  Because upside-down?  It kind of looks like the opposite sort of thing that The Mr. and I were both sort of being earlier that day.

Weird Stuff Pubsgal Eats #534:  Chocolate Kale?!?
(This probably belongs over on the sadly abandoned "Pubsgal Eats."  But oh well.)

The other day, I was in a funk, and close to a Whole Foods.

When I'm in a funk, I know in my head that food is not the answer.  But sometimes, nothing soothes the soul like either something chocolate or some crispy, intensely-flavored kale snacks.  Usually the two are mutually exclusive.  But in my moment of weakness, I succumbed to a quirky combination I had been eyeing but hadn't quite gotten the gumption to try yet: chocolate-covered kale snacks.

"Ingredients:  Organic Kale, Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Organic Coconut Palm Sugar, Organic Cacao Butter, Organic Cacao Powder, Himalayan Crystal Salt, Organic Vanilla Extract and Blessings."  Curious...I didn't know that "blessings" tasted like vanilla...they must have confused it with the cacao, or else were simply being redundant, since "cacao and blessings" is sort of like the anti-"corn syrup and sugar."

Hmmm...such an unfortunate appearance.... 

Most of the crunchy kale snacks I eat are quite crisp, like a dehydrated salad.  The chocolate kale pieces were heavy and hard, but when you started chewing them, they turned out to be more chewy-textured than crisp.  The taste was kind of interesting...sweet, nutty at first, then quite chocolatey.  I didn't taste the kale very much at all. Given the appearance, I had expected something much more chalky in taste and texture.  Admittedly, this stuff stayed in my desk drawer far longer either chocolate or other kale snacks typically do...but you know, for a "what was she thinking" purchase, they were pretty good!  It sure would make a fun holiday gift for any friends who are following a vegan & raw way of eating.

That's all for now!  I look forward to reading about everyone's holiday adventures.  I might not comment as much as I used to, but know that I'm reading and cheering you on!