Do you ever have those runs that on paper should have been a breeze but in reality almost ate you up? I had one of those. But first, our Christmas in a nutshell... Here I am modeling the super fuzzy Ohio State socks that Jon's brother and sister-in-law sent. They hook me up with comfy clothes every year!
The kids had so many gifts under the tree. We are very blessed to be able to give them a Christmas with a warm house and food in the fridge and presents to open. We do something every year to give back, too, and we talk about it with the kids so they understand that what they have isn't the norm. My friend and former colleague moved to Africa recently to help build an orphanage. When she was home for Thanksgiving break we sent her back with a bunch of art supplies and toys, then this week I showed them the photos of the kids there playing and drawing with them. It was a good way to give him perspective. That's hard to get kids to wrap their brains around sometimes, especially when legend has it Santa brings gifts to *everyone* who's been good.
We made a deal to take our time opening gifts this year since they normally tear through them so fast I don't get to see their faces stare at it in appreciation for 3 seconds before moving to the next. When it was time for Jon or me to open, they waited next to us eagerly making sure we didn't need help.
The TV fire was really warm :)
This photo should be titled: "Zippy and his good time Christmas gang."
I hope you readers feel privileged that you get a peek at my morning hairstyles.
This is my favorite ornament because you can light it up.
Jon's niece and nephew-in-law got the boys an Atari. I have an "I will never buy you a video game device" rule so the boys were THRILLED to discover a loophole! :) I wasn't putting up a fight. I kill at Dark Cavern and Missile Command so...
Jon made me this yummy breakfast and even toasted the pita bread. It was a Christmas miracle.
Then we needed to get some air because the kids were driving us a little batty inside our small flat. We grabbed the silly strings and let them go to town. Croc didn't really understand what was happening, or that the can would eventually run out (he wanted Jon to produce more). We did it on concrete so we could clean it all up too!
Driving along the beach always calms them down. It was a pretty sunset.
Every night someone declares it Family Movie Night but we rarely make it through an entire one because we go go go all day long!
While I don't like seeing small businesses go under (it's a sad but frequent fact in SF where rent is sky high), it can be very cool to see the old signs that appear when awnings and signs come down. I couldn't find any record of Loret's business in San Francisco.
Yesterday was a very special day -- Croc's actual bday! We went to the carousel in Golden Gate Park to get celebration started early.
Then they inhaled hot dogs and chips. Cheap dates!
Later that night we piled in the car to go to The Melting Pot for a celebration dinner. Jon makes faces like this all the time and I usually don't know until I look at the photo later that night. I could make a whole photo album of the photos where he's done this!! Hahahaha.
I can't decide if I like eating at this restaurant or not. It's fondue so it was cool to have an interactive dinner and it kept the kids semi-entertained. Dipping bread in melted cheese? Hello, I'm not even going to pretend I didn't love every minute of THAT!
However, the meats turned me off. I didn't eat any but I wasn't crazy about cooking that in the same pot as the veggies. I ate mostly bread/cheese, potatoes, pasta purses, and mushroom caps.
I laughed pretty hard when we were driving there and Jon looked over at me and said, "You know when we're in our 60s, I'm not going to do stuff like this." When I asked him what he meant by it he said, "Going to restaurants where I don't understand the menu." Hahahahaha! He'd looked up their menu online and didn't understand how to order or how the whole cooking thing worked. I admit, I was in the same boat. It took a solid 5 minutes of description from our waiter to get us up-to-speed on how to order. Lots of options, folks!
Is there any better idea than giving a 4-year-old a sharp skewer when he's fully fueled by Shirley Temple?
We share the same photogenic gene.
The restaurant was built out in the former Green Brae Brick Kiln. According to the Parks Department website, it's "the only surviving structure of the Remillard Brick Company, once the largest brick manufacturer on the Pacific Coast. During its 103 years of operation, its bricks were used to rebuild Ghirardelli Square and the Palace Hotel after the 1906 earthquake." Brick isn't a building material used often in the Bay Area (earthquakes + bricks = not pretty) so it stands out to me when I see it.
Then we went home for singing and a cake from our favorite bakery!
It was strawberry mousse and had this intricate checkerboard pattern in the sponge cake. That cake and I had an argument late last night! It's that time of month for me and no sweet is safe in this house.
In case you don't follow college football, Ohio State is playing in the Cotton Bowl. I catch up on these things by reading the screen shots in our photo feed. Apparently the Buckeyes haven't defeated the Trojans since 1973!
I follow random celebrities on Instagram and Amanda Seyfried had a shirt on her feed that I want big time. Amazing. Formal chicken and murder log are my favorites. So good.
I think I'm pretty straight forward on this blog so I'm just going to lay this out there for you: I've eaten like a P-I-G this break so far!!! Nothing has been off limits -- cookies, carbs, juice, cheese, grease, chips. These are not foods I should have as part of my regular diet. It messes up my skin. It makes me feel gross about myself. And it makes even the teeniest tiniest workouts seem REALLY hard! Plus I think we've already covered that I'm not one for moderation, so I can't say "oh I'll just have 8 potato chips and then switch to carrots." It's not going to happen. So I'm usually better off just removing junk food altogether.
Don't get me wrong. I expect to pork out a bit over the holidays, and I'm really okay with putting on a pound or three when I'm taking a break from work. I haven't stepped on a scale in a while and I prefer it that way. I used to obsess a little (lot) too much about what I weighed so I love that I don't tie my happiness to that number anymore. But I have totally gone off the deep end of eating crappy. Like throw me a life raft made of buckwheat noodles and tofu because I am swimming in empty calories over here!
I set out for a run yesterday and didn't really have a set distance in mind. According to my training plan, I could either run 3 miles at a slow pace, or 5 miles at a slow pace followed by some sprint intervals. After the first 0.10 miles, I knew I was going to aim for the former. It felt like I was running through mud. I'm pretty sure a big part of it had to do with not hydrating. I started off on trails for the first couple of miles and there were some big hills where I slowed down to 13:00 pace (!). The good part was that a.) I went!, and b.) it reminded me how intertwined good eating is with good running performance. Holy moly.
It was such a lovely day. I stopped to take it all in from this pretty viewpoint that I'd never seen before.
Sweating out all the cruddy food!! It felt good (in a hard way :)
Tomorrow I'm doing that sprint interval!! Time to squeeze that cheese!! Does anyone remember Denise Austin? My mom and I used to work out to her audio tapes (that's right, we listened to them via audio tape -- I'm in my 40s, folks!). I'm pretty sure I actually wore a leotard with full on leg warmers and tights. Denise used to say, "SQUEEEEZE THAT CHEESE!!" God I miss when workouts didn't require a pole, a reformer, or a $100 gym membership.
I've lost all track of days of the week due to the holidays so I forgot to post Smatterings yesterday. That means, today is the day! Here's my weekly brain dump:
Cheese Tea is a thing now
I've never met a cheese I didn't want to cuddle up with in my mouth, but even I draw the line at this one: Cheese Tea. I first read about it on SFGate as the next new "it" drink in San Francisco.
The drink usually starts with (but is not limited to) iced black or green tea and is served with a fluffy, thick cheese-cream topping. When served, it resembles a freshly poured beer topped with Frappuccino whipped cream.
The best way to drink one is tilted at a 45 degree angle so you get the perfect mix of sweet/salt from the cheese and lightly sweet from the iced tea.
Star Wars sculptures made from recycled purses
Artist Gabriel Dishaw has a passion for working with unusual mediums like mechanical objects including typewriters or old computers. He also did a whole art series around Star Wars using discarded Louis Vuitton bags.
"My passion for working with metal and mechanical objects has been essential in the evolution of my art. It provides me an avenue to express myself in a way that brings new life to materials such as typewriters, adding machines and old computers – technology that would normally end up in a landfill. My mission is to create dialogue and help find creative, environmentally sound ways of re-purposing e-waste."
Look at how intricate the cuttings are and how beautifully he mixes old broken leather with bright bold colors. Artists like this are what impress me more than any others because they take something one person would discard and turn it into something you can't stop staring at. Check out his blog to see his process.
Baseball draft story pulls at the ole heartstrings
Have you ever played that game with your friends where you pretend you've won the lottery and you talk about what you'll do with the winnings? I bet a lot of people would say "buy my parents a house" as one of the things they'd spend money on, but probably not as many would actually follow through. Well this year's 7th pick in the amateur baseball draft, Pavin Smith, did just that. He signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks and then used some of his $5 million signing bonus to pay off his parents' mortgage. He posted his parents' reaction (which he captured on video) via Twitter.
Son/Dad Scrabble rivalry plays out on Twitter
There are three things I love a great deal and this story has all three: board games, good posts on social media, and positive stories about people. It's basically a son using Twitter to document his daily Scrabble matches with his dad over holiday break. The total dominance his dad has over him is breaking down the son in a hilarious way.
Jon just informed me this guy writing (the son) is Owen Ellickson who is a writer/producer for some of my favorite shows including The Office and Superstore! Makes me love the exchange even more.
That's all I've got for tonight!
Tell me: what is your favorite board game to play IRL (not online)? Mine is Trivial Pursuit (with couples), Sorry! (with kids), or Monopoly (whenever I have three hours to spare which last happened in 2008 I think).
Would you drink cheese tea? I guess I'd try just about anything once but this doesn't appeal to me at all.
(Almost) daily blogger. Sober runner. Mental sh*t stirrer. Pro gender equality in tech. Family first.