Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Hangover

After many festive Christmas celebrations in Waterloo, we're back in NY just long enough to unpack, catch the Rockettes tomorrow night, then repack for a quick trip to Los Angeles for New Year's. Then we'll start Hotbody January to burn off the Bailey's. It was all worth it, of course.

P.S. Remember Charlie, the young lad for whose birth I undertook the Amazing Race almost two years ago? He's becoming quite a character.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve!

Snow Globe
Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

We're flying to Toronto for a few days and will return Monday with bellies full of Mom's homemade cookies and a CF card full of pictures of Charlie. Merry Holidays everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Cookies!

Christmas Cookies!
Originally uploaded by hickswright.

I didn't take any pics of this year's Christmas Cookie-Baking Festivities, but as it was one of my finest showings I'm very grateful that Tyler did! At one point I had not one but TWO KitchenAid stand mixers whirring away. Good times. If you haven't yet made the Chocolate Toffee Cookies over at Smitten Kitchen, hie thee to the kitchen! And save a couple for me, because they sure didn't last long around these parts.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Still A Runner!

I just returned from a 4 mile run. I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've voluntarily gone running in close-to-freezing temperatures, especially with a plethora of excuses not to go (it's almost dark, the sidewalks are icy, there's a container of eggnog in the fridge that will almost certainly go bad if I don't drink it, mixed with rum, in the next 10 minutes). After all, I did drop a benjamin on a pair of fleece-lined Lulu pants for days like these.

Happy Winter Solstice!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Very Special Caturday

My company generously gave everyone everyone a Flip MinoHD for Christmas, and I will be using mine to do what any self-respecting cat-owner wielding a camcorder would do: Put video of my cat on the internet.

Featuring a sonata composed by Ken!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Not A Creature Was Stirring

The following is an annotated series of text messages from Ken earlier this evening.


Plus I saw [ex-coworker #1] AND [ex-coworker #2].

Plus I found a dead mouse in my shoe.

Plus it may have been there while I was seeing them last night.


Plus I'm eating a Vietnamese sandwich.***

*He'd been picking up a package at the post office for me! What a guy.

**Geek for "I meant wearing, not seeing, in that last message."

***Hanco's bánh mì. I was very jealous.

I don't even know how to follow all this up, except to say that when I asked him more about the mouse, he said he found it as he was taking his shoes OFF. He'd had his shoes on WITHOUT SOCKS and had been wearing them for approx. an hour before he investigated a lump in the toe only to discover the rodent in question. AN HOUR. His toes were touching a dead mouse for SIXTY MINUTES.

No wonder Memphis was so interested in his shoe earlier this morning.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


A couple of weeks ago I finally made good on my promise to pay it forward: Brianna, Kajal, and Tyler were all recipients of Chocolate Chip Cookies 2 Ways: The heavily-blogged NYTimes recipe (which I have to admit, totally lived up to the hype), and Martha Stewart's Thin & Crisp variety (very different from the NYT recipe, and also very delicious).

Tyler Griffin PhotographyTyler's now playing over on his blog, and there's still one comment up for grabs. I suggested he gift a pack of postcards showcasing his amazing photography, and he's also an excellent baker. So if you're a blogger, you might want to head on over to leave a comment for Tyler!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Up And At Them

Thanks, friends, for all your supportive comments! I'm happy to report that I felt much better today, and even went outside, where I learned that Winter had started since I'd been inside, and I was tempted to return to my den to hibernate until Spring. By now I'm sure all interested parties have googled my affliction, so I'll spare you the details. (It really isn't that exciting, although the treatment is a hoot.)

Here are some things I learned while spending five days at home. Please note that I spent three of these days in bed, and two of those I was delirious.

1. My upstairs neighbours have a cleaning person who comes on Wednesdays. Their vacuum is very loud. And the cleaning person is very thorough. And may wear clogs (like, the Dutch wooden kind).

2. I am a terrible, terrible housekeeper. I saw so many cat-hair tumbleweeds and dust bunnies while I was huddled under the covers in a ball, staring at the radiator, that today I texted my neighbours to get the name of their clog-wearing cleaning person. [Richie.*]

3. CBS.com has 4 seasons' worth of the original and awesomer "90210"!

4. The fourth season of the original and awesomer "90210" is not enough to entertain a person through a week of being sick, evenespecially if that person is delirious for two of the days.

5. Memphis sleeps behind a box in the closet. I don't even know how she can get back there. Weirdo.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

P.S. Meredith said "Richie." on "The Office" tonight which is totally a shoutout to this blog. Holla!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Me, My Kidney, and I

I have a kidney infection.

I wasn't going to blog about this but by now any of my co-workers who read UFF know why I haven't been at work this week anyway, and since my diet of apples and chocolate milk hasn't caused any sort of remarkable weight loss (which, really? that would have been the one upside to this whole ordeal), they won't suspect that I've been away at a spa retreat. Trust me, it's been no retreat.

Last night I felt particularly crappy and Ken was out at class, so I called my mom. When she answered the phone I promptly reverted to being seven years old by blubbering, "Mommy, I'm so sick!" [-10 Dignity Points] Anyway, she was awesome. She gave me all the best Mom-advice possible.

Mom: You need to drink lots of water. Are you drinking lots of water?
Me: Yes.
Mom: Gillian, *promise* me you are drinking lots of water.
Me: I am. And apple juice, and chocolate milk.
Mom: Well, the apple juice is good, but not too much chocolate milk.
Me: I'm drinking two half-cup servings of chocolate milk per day.
Mom: Oh that's fine, as long as it's not a quart a day!

Apparently she'd mistaken me for her other child.

Also, I wasn't kidding about eating *only* apples and chocolate milk. Last night I spread some almond butter on the apple slices 'cause I was feeling wild. So I talked to Mom about whether she thought getting some Ensure or something like it would be a good idea.

Mom: Yeah, sure, that can't hurt.
Me: OK, I think I'll go get--
Mom: Oh no, you won't go get it.
Me: It's OK, I'm going over to Leslie's in a bit--
Mom: Oh no, oh no. You're not going anywhere. You're not to leave the house today, and I think not tomorrow either.

Which, yeah, considering I hadn't been out of bed for more than two hours at a time, and considering that I get a massive pounding headache every time I turn my head... She's probably right.

So then, for the first time in 15 years, I had to call my friend and tell her that I couldn't come over "because my mom won't let me."

[I do feel better this afternoon, and even though I stood her up last night, Leslie was awesome enough to send over dinner for tonight! Which is good, because I think we're out of apples.]

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Caturday Plotting

I knew it.

via Gill

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


When I showed my friend T the picture of my hot hot sock, he immediately laughed and said, "Oh my God, you're SUCH a geriatric!" Then we ran home from work tonight, and oh my God, I am *such* a geriatric.

I haven't run since the half-marathon last month, save for 20 minutes here and there on the treadmill, which doesn't really count. For the first two of tonight's four miles, I felt like I haven't run in a year or more.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: That ain't me no more. Hotbody November is ON, People! In fact, I'm off to the gym for a little lifting and then a yoga class. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I'm Too Sexy For My Sock

Lately I've had a bit of pain in my heels, especially the left one. I'd chalked it up to the shoes I'd worn to run the marathon in September, which had already run too many miles before I went and added another 26.2. While we were in Berlin, I mentioned it to Meredith and Philip, both experienced runners and triathletes, and Philip suggested I might have something called plantar fasciitis. I'd never heard of that and figured that when I finally replaced my shoes I'd be A-OK. A few weeks and a pair of new running shoes later when I still had pain, Ken pulled out the ol' sports medicine bible and looked up PF. It described athletes at highest-risk for the condition as long-distance runners [check!] with high arches [check!], and worn-out shoes [check-o-rama!]. It might just as well have added, "especially if you are a red-haired Canadian girl with a penchant for red wine and things that are orange."

Yesterday I saw a sports medicine dude to have my hooves checked out and sure enough, I have plantar fasciitis. Thankfully, contrary to the advice in the sports medicine book, I don't need to take a break from running. Among other things like ice massages, I need to stretch my calves a lot. Fortuitously, last night I hung out with friends who are also runners. They told me about their experiences with plantar fasciitis and shared with me a neat little device that helps keep tension on the plantar fascia and alleviate symptoms.

And that, dear Reader, is how I came to be lounging on the couch wearing one of these:
I know. I'm turning myself on, too.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Anyone Else Predicting a Baby Boom in August 2009?

And a huge Democratic victory in 2028?

Oh Hell Yeah!

I've never been so happy to call this country home.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Democracy Is My Homeboy

This morning my American boy roused himself out of a deep slumber at 5:30 to hit the polls. For a few minutes I lay in bed considering my Canadianism (yes, I did vote in the recent federal election), and at the last minute decided to join him in line at the polling station.

Outside the polling center, the line wrapped around the corner and well down the next block. It looked insane, but moved quickly, and once we were inside the elementary school gymnasium, we only waited a few minutes. We saw a few voters still wearing pajama pants and even a bathrobe at that early hour.

It was awe-inspiring to see that many people out to cast a ballot. Democracy is good times.


Because you can.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Chicken Squash Action

As is oft the case, last night I was ambitious. We wanted to go to First Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum (British rock! Fun!) and in honour of the NYC Marathon this morning, I had supportive signs to make (Go Tiernan! Go Dawn! Go Jim! Go Robert! Go Paula!*) and plans to make a batch of Sticky Cinnamon Rolls to share with my fellow cheerleaders.

Two out of three ain't bad: We danced to Blur and Elastica and I managed to eke out a couple of Bristol board signs, but the cinnamon rolls remained at their first rise overnight. I completed them later this afternoon with great success. Really I should be blogging about those, but I also made a delicious meal tonight that involves all things Thanksgiving, things which happened to be in our fridge even though there are 3 weeks until the culinary event of the year. And despite previously detailing how to create a Bunny Cake, I've never posted my very own recipe. And so, without further ado, I give you:

Chicken Squash Action (named by Ken)
Makes 4 servings

2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c sliced mushrooms
1/2 c celery, diced
1 T fresh sage, minced
1/2 c red wine (I used Vampire Pinot Noir)

3 c butternut squash, in 1/2 inch dice
1 c chicken broth

1 c cooked wild rice
6 oz cooked boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced

In a large pan with a lid, sautée the onion, garlic, mushrooms, celery, and half the sage over medium heat until onion is caramelized, about 10 minutes. Stir in remaining sage.

Deglaze the pan with the red wine (this part smells delicious). Add the squash and the broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until squash is fork-tender (this will depend on the accuracy of your dice), about 10 minutes. Stir in the rice and the chicken breast and simmer a few minutes more, until chicken is heated through. Salt & pepper to taste.

Serve with wine and, optionally, a purring cat nearby. A few toasted sliced pecans would also be a delicious addition, or a few dried cranberries (in fact, I think I'll go add a few of those to the leftovers right now). Bon appetit!

*We met Paula on the subway on Friday night. I didn't see her running today but I'm sure she did very well!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

NaBloPo... Something

Two Novembers ago I participated in National Blog Posting Month, and since I'm not doing anything silly like running a marathon this November, I'm going to give it another go. Aren't you excited? Unfortunately, I remembered to write this post at 12:15am on the 2nd. Fortunately, tonight is the night the clocks go back! So I'm rolling my clock back and timestamping this for the 1st. And I can assure you that at least one of the next 29 posts will be more interesting than this one. Two, if you're lucky.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

A local non-chain drugstore, the Prospect Gardens Pharmacy, came through with an ample supply of Peeps Ghosts. It's a Halloween miracle! Fueled by a glass of - what else? - Ghost Pines Merlot, I spent the night baking and decorating and giggling at my creation. And while I did that, The Boy carved up a smoochy jack o'lantern. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

UFF APB: Peeps Ghosts

My most favourite holiday of the YEAR is tomorrow (colours: black and orange! carving big ORANGE gourds! scary movies! ghosts! costumes! CANDY CORN!) which means that tonight I will partake in one of my all-time favourite activities. And after that I'll make the brownie graveyard. Making this thing makes me insanely happy, in no small part because the Peeps Ghosts are so perfectly to scale with the Milano cookie headstones. Also they're crazily cute AND delicious!

One glitch: I can't find them this year. I've been to several Duane Reades, Target, a Food Emporium, a Walgreens and a CVS, all to no avail. My last hope is the Key Food in my 'hood, but if you've seen them anywhere in Manhattan or Brooklyn, please let me know. You could save Halloween - I'm just sayin'.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Running Dork

For the record, those are not longhorns. That's rock 'n' roll, baby.

It's Funny Because It's True

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Run Forrest Run

On Sunday I ran the Nike Women's Half-Marathon in San Francisco for the 2nd year in a row (well, the third, if you count that I did it in 2006 as the first half of the FULL marathon!). Last year, I PR'd on this course, which is insanely hard. Obviously I hadn't been pushing hard enough during easier (read: flatter) races. Anyhoo, I went out yesterday just 3 weeks after Berlin and not having run more than a few miles since then. I started out all gung-ho (with the 9:44 pace group, natch) and at about mile 3 my legs firmly indicated that they were having none of it. About halfway through, up yet another ginormous hill, I decided to relax and enjoy the race, which meant taking the uphills easy, pushing a bit on the downhills, and smiling a lot. And also not trying to beat last year's 2:12 finish, which I think was an excellent decision, especially given how sore my calves were this morning anyway.

I finished in 2:19 and I had fun doing it. After the race, we spent about 2 hours cheering the full-marathoners until we were hoarse. We met new friends (hi Lin!) for lunch in Mountain View, then went home and drank wine and ordered pizza (because we were really and truly too tired to move - there was almost a fight over who would answer the doorbell when the delivery arrived) and caught up on True Blood. It was kind of perfect.

After the race, with my favourite cheerleader:The deets for you running nerds:
Time: 2:19:37.430
Pace (Min/Mi): 10:39
Overall Rank: 2935
Female Rank: 2704
F30-34 Rank: 472
5k 0:32:47.420 10:33
10k 1:05:06.320 10:28
15k 1:41:34.370 10:53

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I Like TV

I started a big long post about my new (Brooks) running shoes that made my heels bleed the first time I wore them (so sad) and my even newer (Mizuno) running shoes but then I drank 2 beers and instead decided to share with you my top 10 favourite things about "Gossip Girl":

  1. Chuck

  2. Chuck

  3. Blair's hair

  4. Little J's hair (seriously, thank god it doesn't look like this on the show)

  5. Chuck

  6. Rufus having the balls to tell Lily to go blow (SUCKA)*

  7. That Vanessa and Nate weren't in last week's episode

  8. Getting rid of Prince Whatever and the incesty Duchess Whatever - GOOD JOB WRITERS

  9. While the girls are certainly thin, none of them is in dire need of a Happy Meal like the chicks on (the new and colossally inferior) 90210

  10. Chuck

*Liking any story line about the parents officially makes me old. And as I'm also curious about Chuck's dad's dirt on Lily, I'm probably old AND uncool. With bloody heels.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

Then We'll Take Berlin

Guten tag from Deutschland! Thanks to delicious German brew and copious amounts of Nutella I'm well on my way to recovering from running 42,2 km yesterday through the streets of Berlin. The weekend was really amazing. We landed Friday morning and met up with my friend Meredith (also running) and her fiance Philip (from Copenhagen) on Friday afternoon at the race expo. At the expo we ran into my friend Erik, who I knew from NY and who now also lives in Copenhagen and was here to run the marathon. Sometimes the world is very small. Both Ken & I were melting at the expo after our overnight flight, so we only stayed long enough to get my number and then came back to the hotel for a nap.

Saturday we met up with 2 more of Meredith & Philip's friends from Copenhagen, Lotta and her boyfriend, Kim (it's a man's name in Danish!). Lotta was also running, and all three boys were here for moral support, cheerleading, and post-race massages (at which they excelled). At lunch we had a discussion about race goals, and both Kim (a spinning instructor) and Philip (an Ironman triathlete) were adamant that we should have specific goal times. I secretly decided then that I'd try to finish in 4:30, bettering my NYC time by 17 minutes. The course here is very flat, and the forecast was perfect (a high of 68F, and sunny), so I thought I'd go for it.

The first half of my race was perfect. I crossed the 21.1 km mark at 2:10, well on track to finish in 4:30. But I wavered in the 2nd half, and as much as I pushed my legs (and push I did!) I slowed down enough that I finished in 4:37. Which really means that my first half wasn't perfect - I could definitely have paced better to have more energy at the end. I also realized that my 2 18+ mile runs weren't enough, and next year (!) I'll do at least 3.

In the end, though, I felt a lot like the Rancho Carne Toros at the end of "Bring It On": I didn't exactly get the result I wanted, but I'm incredibly happy and proud of what I accomplished. And, yes, I'm planning to do another one next year. But for now I'm taking the week off. Prosit!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I. Am. Freaking. Out.

Usually I count down to important events using the number of sleeps to go until the event, for example, "8 more sleeps until Puerto Rico!" or "4 more sleeps until payday!" (One notable exception is my birthday, to which I count down in shopping days.)

However, in my attempts to count down to the Berlin Marathon I've found myself confounded by the overnight flight. That can't count as a sleep, can it? Maybe as half a sleep? Let's make the safe assumption that for once I'll remember to bring one of the myriad inflatable neck pillows that line the floor of our closet, and that I'll take a Benadryl as soon as I'm buckled into my seat. I think in that case counting the redeye as a sleep is fair, in which case:


Whew. I don't suppose hyperventilating right now will help, either in the short- or long-term.

Berlin will be my third marathon, which is really hard to believe. It's also the first time I see the value in a training journal, which I haven't kept regularly the last couple of years, and certainly didn't this year. It would be nice to have answers to such burning questions as:

  • Was I freaking out this much last year before the marathon? (Answer: Probably.)
  • Was I eating as much crap as I have been this week? (Answer: Definitely.)
So I guess I'm on track after all!

The race will be broadcast live on the interwebs. I think you can also sign up to get text messages of my progress. I can't find the exact link right now but it's somewhere on the marathon website, and maybe someone who isn't freaking out right now will find it and post it in the comments. Oh and there are profiles of the top female runners - they must've overlooked me but I'll email them about that right now. It might even be fixed by the time you read this - I hear the Germans are an efficient bunch.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pay It Forward!

A few weeks ago, my friend, fellow blogger, and talented photographer Elizabeth posted a Pay it Forward chain on her blog. She pledged to send a treat to the first three commenters on the post, in exchange for their promises to do the same on their blogs.

It was my lucky day - I was the third commenter! And on Labour Day, Miss Elizabeth arrived at my apartment for an afternoon brunch bearing this lovely tin:

Isn't it pretty? Let's have another look:

In the busy-ness of hosting brunch I didn't open the tin until much later that day, and nestled inside I found rows of neatly-wrapped homemade caramels. Little did Elizabeth know that caramels are my absolute favourites, and these beautiful sweet treats barely lasted two weeks sitting on my coffee table.

I'm so grateful to Elizabeth for these treats (and I'm hoping she'll be kind enough to pass on the recipe, as I'd love to include them with my Christmas cookies this year!). Now it's time for me to pay it forward. The official rules of the exchange are:

I agree to send something fun, cute, and nice to the first 3 blog owners who post a comment on this entry. In turn, those three will post this information and pick 3 people they want to send something to and so on. Unfortunately, due to postage costs, I can only pay it forward within the United States. If you are interested in participating, be one of the first 3 blog owners to leave a comment!

You have to promise that you will then post about this on your blog, link to me, and then send something to the first three people who comment on your blog so that this continues. When the first three have commented I will email you a request for your shipping address and I will send out something that I hope will make you smile!

The only thing I like more than receiving something fun, cute, and nice is giving something fun, cute, and nice - so comment away!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Bark the Vote

1. Go here.
2. Vote for Puppy!
3. Read Puppy's owner's blog, which is really funny.

PS: If you put lipstick on Puppy, he's still Puppy.

Friday, September 05, 2008


I met fellow TNTer Amanda earlier this season in Brooklyn. She moved to Boston about a month ago, and since I'm here (that is, in Boston) until tomorrow morning, we decided to go for a run together this evening. We met at (in? I don't know the lingo, help me out) Boston Commons and crossed the Longfellow Bridge into Cambridge, then ran west along the Charles. Amanda had mapped out a six-mile run, which seemed quite reasonable for a school night, but after we'd been running for... a while, and it was dark, we both wondered if the map had been wrong or if we were just running really slowly.

It was definitely the former.

We ran to Harvard and crossed back into Boston over the Larz Anderson Bridge. I think this was our fatal flaw - the original map had us crossing over the Boston University Bridge. I think. At any rate, I ran over 12 miles tonight, 12 miles for which I prepared by sitting in a conference all day, wearing heels, and eating ice cream. Twice. (Really. My boyfriends showed up at lunch for a quickie, then at the break this afternoon there were make-your-own sundaes, to which I have never said no. And during this important political season, we all know how important it is to have a consistent voting record, right?)

Holy smokes, I'm tired. Anyway, I'm not sure what effect this is going to have on the 20 mile run I have slated for this weekend, but I suspect at the very least I'll have to move it from Saturday to Sunday. Or not. I'm hardcore that way.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

90210 Tasting Menu

Last Thursday I sprawled out on a blanket under the Brooklyn Bridge to watch "The Shining" and, inspired by a post on Chowhound, brought spinach frittata cut into the shape of a hedge maze, accompanied by rum punch (redrum, anyone?). Last night's season premiere of Gossip Girl was accompanied by dirty martinis (and Virgin Marys for my pregnant friend, who was kind enough to sit through my exclamations of "Oh no she di'int!" even though she hadn't seen the show before. She claims she's hooked).

Tonight, my friends, is the big event: The series premiere of the NEW 90210. Sadly, so sadly, I am in Boston for a conference and will miss Kajal's viewing party, which will almost certainly involve oversized t-shirts and spandex biker shorts, with a few slouchy socks and scrunchies thrown in for authenticity.

My absenteeism did not, however, stop me from brainstorming a tasting menu - perhaps for the season finale next Spring?

We'll start with Brian Austin Green Beans served alongside a Joe E. Frittata. Homemade pizza Doherty is always delicious (be sure to punch it down well after it rises), especially when it's extra cheesy. To wash it all down? We're talking about Beverly Hills here, and certainly only champagne will do. Finally, we'll have fresh, seasonal stone fruit for dessert (be careful not to bite a Peach Pit), accompanied by a glass of Donna Rémy Martin cognac, of course.

Bon appetit!

P.S. The obvious culinary choice for tomorrow night's 2 hour season premiere of America's Next Top Model is to chow down on Doritos and Little Debbie Snack Cakes, then throw up during the commercials.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Who Decides?

> More in the Perspective Series

Morning Commute

Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

This morning I boarded the Q-train as usual at 7th Ave. in Brooklyn. I glanced down and noticed grass wrapped around each of the poles that run up the middle of the car - just little patches of wheat grass. It was lovely and unexpected and passengers smiled when they saw the grass. I noticed other people photographing and sketching it, and heard one woman comment that she wish she had coloured pencils with her.

When the train stopped at 14th St., there was an announcement of a brief delay so that one of the cars could be cleared because of vandalism. We gathered ourselves and shuffled off the train amidst quiet comments of "bummer" and "that sucks," and most of us continued our commutes on the R-train that had pulled in across the platform.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Twenty-Six Minutes

That's how long it took me to run 5km tonight. I know, I was shocked too! At the beginning of July I raced that distance and proudly clocked in at 29:20. That, my friends, is a vast improvement, and one of which I am quite proud! And while I have a reputation as a purveyor of baked goods and lover of all things orange, I am not known for my sub-9-minute miles.

Hilariously, as I entered my mile splits (8:24, 8:17, and 8:32, plus 0:52 for the last 0.1) I realized that running faster means you get to stop running sooner. And stopping running sooner means you get to eat ice cream sooner, which is really all the incentive I need.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Size Does Matter

About a month ago I was at Anthropologie browsing their delightful bits (holla Ali!) when I came across these little glasses that cost all of $3 or $4 each. I think they were meant to be juice glasses, but they looked like the perfect size to hold a tiny summer parfait. It worked out just fine, don't you think?

(I haven't been quite as ambitious as the lovely and talented Miss Amy, who's making her own frozen treats this year, but this store-bought variety is really delicious.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Not Wishing It Was Over

Further to Saturday's post about feeling like a runner, tonight I went for a quickie around Prospect Park. Often when I run the park I find myself hoping it'll be over soon, dreading the North hill (situated at the very end of my run), and sometimes even pausing to walk a few steps because I'm bored/distracted/tired.

Tonight, though, I felt wonderful. I felt present and alive and strong. I smiled at the other runners and the cyclists and the people congregating in the meadow to watch a late-summer movie. I noticed a lone firefly in my path and several bats overhead, silhouetted in the sunset as it became twilight. I found myself hitting my stride on the hill, and when I reached the end, I sprinted home feeling almost euphoric and craving more.

In other words, I felt like a runner.



A couple of sites I read linked to Yearbook Yourself today. I went through all the years and I have to tell you, my 1960 image's resemblance to my mom is startling. Mom, if you have a yearbook photo from when you were 16 I think we need to compare it with this:

Saturday, August 16, 2008

An Even 14

This morning I laced up and met the TNTers (plus a rogue fellow from work who's training for the NYC Marathon and had decided to join us) at 7 a.m. to take advantage of another of Mayor Bloomberg's awesome ideas, Summer Streets. We started in Brooklyn and ran across the Manhattan Bridge, then covered most of the 7-mile closure of Park Ave., with a detour to go across the Queensborough Bridge and back.

View Interactive Map on MapMyRun.com

Throughout the run I remarked at how great I felt, even after 14 miles, when I mostly stopped running because I had other things to do - not because I felt like I needed to stop. That feeling was new to me, that whole thing about liking running and maybe even being a runner.

Me? A runner? That's so weird.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I'll Tumbl 4 Ya

I'll be your baby
I'll be your score
I'll run the gun for you
And so much more

Thursday, August 07, 2008


Check it out, yo! My apricots picture (below, top right) was featured on Slashfood on Monday!

They were delicious, by the way - I'm going to make them again tonight.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Grillin' Like A Villian

1. Perfection, 2. Sunny Side Up, 3. Drizzled, 4. Bean & Tomato Salad

I'm not sure what the best part of having a backyard is, but having a grill is up there. Tonight for dinner I 'cued up a turkey burger and corn on the cob, and then tried my hand at grilling apricots for dessert. Delish. The sides are a bean & tomato salad (both of which I picked up at the farmers' market yesterday) and spicy mixed greens from a pot in the backyard. The basil in the salad is also homegrown. I love summer.

Love and Ice Cream

Two weeks ago I attended the wedding of my good friends Heather & Doug in Townshend, VT. This was my first trip to VT, though neither my first nor last tryst with the state's most notorious residents. God I love those guys.

Anyway, Heather & Doug asked me to take a few photos for them and I uploaded them to Flickr last night (with minimal processing; learning Lightroom is on my to-do list).

View On Black

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


While discussing a mix-tape competition at lunch today, the subject of Rickrolling came up. I sheepishly confessed that in high school I'd been a huge fan of Rick Astley and knew all the words to "Never Gonna Give You Up" (plus others, like the classic "Together Forever").

One of my co-workers looked at me incredulously and said, "You're the only person I know who knew who Rick Astley was before Rickrolling started."

I haven't felt this old since Lisa asked me who Cyndi Lauper was.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Worth an Extra Bowl of Ice Cream

The half marathon this morning went really, really well. I finished in 2:15 - a few minutes longer than it took me last time, but I'm still thrilled with the results. Once again this year I got all choked up running through Times Square - TIMES SQUARE! I ran through TIMES SQUARE this morning! - and had to consciously regulate my breathing as I ran across 42nd St. to the West Side Highway.

This afternoon I napped and read the paper and did yoga, all things I would normally do on a Sunday afternoon. Then I ate two bowls of ice cream, because I ran 13.1 miles this morning.

A few months ago Sirrah! asked me if I considered myself a runner. "Nah," I scoffed, "I just run when I'm training for something. I'm not really a *runner*." This morning, however, I really felt like a runner, which was kind of strange and cool. I wonder if that feeling will stick around. I hope so.

8/4/08: Updated with my splits, for posterity:

Mile 1: 10:38
Mile 2: 10:42
Mile 3: 10:29
Mile 4: 9:55
Mile 5: 10:27
Mile 6: 10:20
Mile 7: 9:59
Miles 8 & 9: 20:14 (I forgot to split at Mile 8 in Times Square because I was so engrossed in the awesomeness!)
Mile 10: 10:30
Mile 11: 10:35
Mile 12: 10:31
Mile 13: 9:54
The last 0.1: 1:00

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Grey Shorts Incentive

This weekend I'm running the NYC Half Marathon. It's on Sunday. At 7 a.m. That's right, I'm going to start running 13.1 miles (that's 21.1 km for all you metric-lovahs) at 7 in the MORNING, and hopefully be finished before you wake up. In fact, if I'm quiet, I can slide right back into bed without you even noticing I was gone. I promise to shower first.

The half marathon also marks the halfway point in my training (holy smokes!) AND, with your help, I'll be well over halfway to my goal of raising $4500 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

If you've been thinking about donating but then also thought, "What's in it for me?" well, friend, wonder no more. A few weeks ago I purchased a pair of grey shorts. At the time I wondered to myself, "Self, why don't I have any grey shorts? Only black. Weird, I think I'll go for it!" So I did. Then I ran 8 miles in them. Then I remembered why I don't have any grey shorts, and it has to do with sweat. Unflattering sweat. Still unclear? OK, it's unflattering CROTCH sweat.

If my fundraising tally hits $2500 before Sunday, I will run in grey shorts, AND post a post-race picture. It may not be quite as appealing as other fundraising ploys I've seen, but trust me that it's hilarious, and will likely cause me embarrassment. And aren't hilarity and embarrassment the two key tenets of the internets? Oh, and porn.

Donate here. Or here.

And here: http://pages.teamintraining.org/nyc/nikesf08/gilliang.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

So Tempting

This is why I might have to get cable this fall.

Update: Joe E. Tata is joining the party, too. GOOD TIMES. I just hope Gabrielle Carteris is too busy looking after her grandchildren to sign on.

Friday, July 18, 2008

12 + 99 = 4

Or, Ambition + Temperature = Reality

I had grand plans to run home from work tonight, plans which were thwarted when, about 3 miles into my run, I realized that it was 99°F even along the waterfront, and that crossing the tourist-laden Brooklyn Bridge and running up fume-y Atlantic Avenue in that heat was really going to suck. So I cut my run short after 4 miles.

Fortunately I sweated enough to still feel hardcore.

Training update: I ran 10 miles last Saturday, a totally beautiful run starting and ending in Prospect Park, and across both the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges. The weather that morning was perfect, and I felt great. Tuesday night I had another hill workout, which wasn't exactly *fun* but I (and my calves) survived.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Count to Four

Even if you've already seen this, watch it again. It's so happy-making.

Street Cred

Overheard in the men's room after tonight's Ani DiFranco concert:

"We made it, guys. We earned some major street cred." Pause. "Use it wisely."

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Piperlime Is The New Zappos

I'm a longtime spender at Zappos.com, often ordering 4 or 5 pairs of shoes at once, sometimes with multiple sizes or colours of a particular style. Free shipping! Free returns! More often than not, Zappos upgrades your shipping so that you order one day and the next day you get that magical email: "You have a package - please pick it up at the front desk." I love being able to sort by style, colour, and even heel height. In short, I'm really fussy about shoes. Zappos has been there for me through many changes of season, during which I inevitably become anxious about such decisions as whether or not to show my toes at work (currently yes) and whether I should buy boots with a heel (undecided).

Enter Piperlime, at whose email I scoffed when I first received one a year or two ago. "Oh, that's cute," I thought smugly, "Gap is trying to compete with Zappos with a shoe site. It'll never work." But I didn't unsubscribe, and eventually this year they got me with an email about trendy summer gladiator shoes.

The truth is, no matter how picky I am about footwear, I'm no fashionista, and I'll take all the help I can get. It didn't hurt that I'm keen on sandals that are a) flat and b) cover much of my feet, so the gladiators are already up my alley. But to have some sort of fashion expert reviewing the shoes and giving me suggestions seemed like a good idea, and I ordered a few pairs. When the shoes arrived, Piperlime's packaging charmed me: The inside of the shipping box is printed with Piperlime's sweet limey logo, and the invoice comes tastefully tucked into a lime green envelope. To top it all off, each shoe box came wrapped in brown tissue paper secured with a green lime sticker. Sweet times!

I decided to keep only one of the three pairs, and the other two pairs have been languishing in their boxes for the past month or so, because I vaguely dreaded the process of going to the website to print out a return label (which I keep forgetting to do at work, where I have access to such essential items as a printer). Today I finally decided to at least package them up so I could print the label on Monday and I was delighted to discover a self-adhesive return label IN THE BOX! Zappos, take note.

Now that I have a cool pair of summer sandals, I'm almost looking forward to deciding whether to get mid-calf or knee-high boots this Fall.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

O Canada

In honour of Canada Day, UFF proudly presents a brief installment of Canadianisms: The Expressions Edition.

Expression #1: Had the biscuit

Meaning: Is broken or no longer working (electronics), has gone bad (food), is dead/dying (plants, pets). I read somewhere that during wartime, the mattresses placed outside a first aid tent were called "biscuits," and when a soldier died he was placed on the mattress - hence he'd "had the biscuit." It's more commonly attributed to the host used in the Catholic sacrament for the dying.

Usage Example 1: "My watch stopped working again. I think it's had the biscuit."

Usage Example 2: "These cherries have had the biscuit. I'm going to throw them out."

Usage Example 3: "That hydrangea's had the biscuit. I guess that's what happens when you forget to water it."

Expression #2: Fucking the dog

Meaning: It's not what you think! To fuck the dog simply means to waste time. I don't know the origin because I'm old enough to know better than to Google "fucking the dog," but by all means knock yourself out (and don't blame me if you're forever scarred).

Usage Example: "My hard drive at work finally had the biscuit, so I fucked the dog all day."

Happy Canada Day!

Monday, June 30, 2008

The French Lifter

Tonight as I was making treats for tomorrow's festivities I was reminded of a conversation I had whilst in Waterloo back in April.

I was there for young Charlie's first birthday, and as I had been charged with baking his cake, I brought with me my usual cake-decorating implements, including my offset spatula:As our post-party hangovers were subsiding and I was packing up my belongings, I asked Dr. & Mr. Sirrah! if either of them had seen my offset spatula.

No, I haven't seen it.

Greg (rooting through the drawers and holding up an offset spatula): Does this look like yours?

Me: I think that's mine, unless you guys have one like that.

Greg: I thought we did. Sirrah, do you know if this is our offset spatula?

Sirrah!: I thought that was a French lifter.

At that point, as it often does, the conversation deteriorated rapidly:

Me: Hey baby, let's try the French Lifter later.

Greg: I think I threw my back out performing the French Lifter last night.

Dog: Ooh, yeah, I love it when she does the French Lifter.

Sirrah! (rolling her eyes): I thought that's what it was called.

Back, then, to tonight, when just as Dog was leaving to meet his brother for a drink, he saw me holding the infamous utensil. "Ooh," he said, "had I known you were going to get out the French Lifter tonight, I wouldn't have made other plans."

Back to California

Strawberry Shortcake
Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

Last weekend I made the first of 2008's pilgrimages to California. We arrived at SFO to unusually warm weather, and after a stop for the most delicious burrito in the world, or at least North America we drove down Hwy 1 through Pacifica to Half Moon Bay. We stopped on Hwy 92 to buy strawberries, which were advertised at $6/box. We both thought it was sad that we could get California strawberries cheaper in NY right now until we learned that a box didn't mean what we thought it meant - it meant SIX of what we thought it meant! Six dollars garnered us a half-flat of sweet, ripe berries the size of small apples, which we couldn't even finish in our short stay (though not for lack of trying). Above: Possibly my most delicious birthday cake ever.

Friday, June 27, 2008

UFF Loves xkcd

Thursday, June 19, 2008

And You May Ask Yourself

As you may have deduced from my most recent Flickr pics, I was in Canada last weekend to do some recruiting at my alma mater, visit my peeps in Waterloo, and run a 10k.

Dog & I flew back from Buffalo and when a handy email from Orbitz alerted us that our flight was delayed an hour we decided to detour through Niagara Falls. Yeah, we just decided to stop and see the Falls, like you might stop to get gas at a Shell station. Just like last year when I used to occasionally go for a run at lunchtime - across the Brooklyn Bridge. Oh and tonight after work, I'm going to swing over to a little venue around the corner from my office to see a band play - just the band that pretty much defined my high school musical experience.

Then tomorrow morning? Oh, you know, we're flying to San Francisco for a wedding and to celebrate someone's (ahem) 34th (dear god, how did I get so far past 30?) birthday (it's on Saturday, in case you're keeping track of these things - express shipping will still get my gift here on time, even!). And I was informed last night that I will need to take Monday off work and change my Sunday evening flight to Monday afternoon. Can do.

At the very least, two 5-hour flights mean plenty of time for writing, in particular for finishing the draft posts I've started in the midst of all this wonderfulness. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Giant Rhubarb Spotted in Southwestern Ontario

Sunny Defeats the Rhubarb!
Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

Rhubarb slayed by 77-year-old woman wielding a sharp knife. Details at 11.

P.S. More verbosity coming soon, I promise. In the meantime, there are a whole bunch of new Flickr pics available for your viewing pleasure.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

More Options

More Options
Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

Thanks so much for all your comments!

I dropped off a CD of pictures to be printed yesterday, and last night my photography teacher emailed me with another set of her faves. Anyhoo, if you still have it in you, let me know what you think of these.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Photo Exhibit

Candidate for Photo Exhibit
Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

I know I know... lots of pictures around here, not enough writing! I promise a real post this weekend, but for now your comments would be much appreciated. I've been taking a photography class at Photo Manhattan and on Tuesday night we have an exhibit! How fun! Anyway, I get to show 6 photos that I've taken over the course of the... course, and these are the candidates. Click that link to go to Flickr and view the collage, and click any photo in the collage to be taken to the original. Anything else in the Portraits set is fair game as well. I'm kind of partial to ANTM*. Note that all the photos will be printed in black & white for the show.

P.S. If you want to come, the show's on Tuesday, June 10 at 8 p.m. at 51 West 14th St, #2R. There are a couple of extremely talented photographers in my class, so swing by. It's free, and there will be food & booze!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

She Works Hard All Week

She Works Hard All Week
Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fierce Enough for Tyra

Dog: our little hunter just caught a mouse!

did she eat it?

Dog: nope
well, she had it in her mouth
carried it to the bedroom
held it
held it
wait for it
dropped it
and it was there stunned and she was just watching

G: then what?

Dog: i put an empty strawberry thing over it
now it's outside in a little cage
while i decide what to do with it

G: let it go!
what would you possibly do with it?

Dog: should i throw it over a neighbor's fence?

G: no

Dog: i'm not going to fricassee it, bebe.

G: just let it run away
don't throw it!
it's been traumatized enough!

Dog: not throw
i just mean put it somewhere where it's more likely to end up in someone else's house, rather than our own

G: believe me, it isn't coming back

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Back in April I planted seeds: Two varieties of heirloom tomatoes, mini sweet peppers, and jalapeños. Given that I haven't grown anything from seeds since Mr. Stumpf's grade 3 class and internet research that suggested I was starting a few weeks late, I didn't know if the seeds would even sprout.

But they did.

I went away for a weekend a couple of weeks after I planted them. Before I left I moved the tray of peat pucks that housed the tiny green sprouts into a sunny window. At the airport I bought a Martha Stewart Living that advised I should ease the seedlings into direct sunlight, maybe for an hour or two a day to start. Oops. I half-expected to find them brown and withered when I got home, but they were fine.

I was really excited about these seedlings. I called them my "little dudes" and sometimes in the morning I asked them if they needed water. (And sometimes Ken answered on their behalf, in falsetto, "Yes, we do. But don't give the peppers too much; they have no self-control." Hee.) At one point I mentioned to a friend that I'd planted seeds, and he thought I meant figuratively. I laughed, but when I thought about it, the idea didn't seem so ridiculous. I've moved three times in the past year and lived with roommates - strangers, really - for six months. As a result I had a lot of pent-up nesting to do. I liked that planting seeds - literally - could be symbolic of putting down roots and growing into my life for a little while.

I'd planned to plant the sprouts outside when they were a few inches tall, then did some more research and found out I should wait until they were a little bigger. I kept them in their tray in the sunlight and as a few started to develop their first set of "true" tomato leaves, I planted them in small pots. The rest stayed in their incubating peat pucks on the sunny windowsill, growing.

This week it looked like more of the seedlings were ready to be planted, so on Wednesday morning I got up early and carried the tray of earnest young plants out to the backyard to move them into their new homes: Plastic flowerpots filled with fresh potting soil.

Then, on the way outside, I dropped the tray.

Most of the peat pucks fell out of the tray, and many of the tiny plants were decapitated, leaving them no leaves with which to photosynthesize. My careful labeling of the tray with stickers was ruined.

I surveyed the damage - dirt on the floor, of course, littered with tiny stalks no bigger than blades of grass but that seconds before had held the potential to become tomatoes and peppers and, more importantly, the potential to become proof that I could do this thing, that I could plant seeds and put down roots and cultivate whatever grew from them.

In that moment I felt overwhelmingly like I'd failed. As I picked up the pieces part of me wanted to just sweep everything out the door and start over some other time. Instead, I halfheartedly rescued a few survivors, probably about half the plants I'd started with, and moved them into the waiting flowerpots.

Yesterday afternoon I called my friend Lee to wish him Happy Birthday. I don't think he's ever been home when I've called on his birthday - I always sing to his voicemail. Despite about ten years of this tradition, I missed last year, and this year I was a day late. After I finished my enthusiastic, off-key serenade (to his voicemail, of course), I apologized for my general lack of communication in the past 18 or so months. "It was kind of a busy year," I explained. "I got divorced, moved, and changed jobs." I paused. "And I'm really happy now."

It turns out I planted a few other seeds along the way, some without even knowing it. And they're doing splendidly.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Rough Week

Monorail Memphis
Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

This cat has had a rough week. On Wednesday night around 9 p.m. Ken (his real name! Yay!) commented that she was being really quiet considering how close we were to feeding time. I immediately suspected that she was being *too* quiet - in other words, that she wasn't actually in the apartment. Apparently when I had come back in from the backyard, she hadn't. We called her back with a few shakes of a can of treats, and she didn't seem any worse for the wear - and in fact, I suspect she might have eaten something somewhere because she was remarkably unpesky as 10 p.m. approached.

Then, on Friday morning, a cockroach (ugh, I know) ran across our hallway. It stopped beside a box, and Memphis, descendent of fierce feline predators, sauntered over to it, gingerly touched it with her paw, then walked away.

What a pussy.

Friday, May 09, 2008

How To Win My Heart

When I arrive home from work with a pint of New York Super Fudge Chunk and announce that it's dinner: Heat a mug of water in the microwave so that I can warm my spoon, facilitating ice cream consumption.

I will swoon.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Just A Reminder

You must do the things you think you cannot do.
- Eleanor Roosevelt