21 October, 2011 03:21

October 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

I wonder if a little earthquake precedes every Paul Simon show, or just this one.

my breakfast was better than your breakfast

August 3, 2011 § 1 Comment

Yours might have been prettier, though, so I didn’t get a picture.

Scramble two eggs with a pinch of salt and about 1/4 teaspoon of curry powder (I think we have a Madras blend). If you love curry, add more, if you aren’t a big fan you can add less. I suggest using water instead of milk for the eggs, as the curry will overshadow the extra oomph that milk adds, but any liquid will work.

When your eggs are nearly done, add about 1 tablespoon of raisins to the pan. Remove from heat and let stand for about a minute so the raisins soften just a little. I bet a little spinach added with the raisins and a few sliced almonds on top would be good, too, but I didn’t have any.

what DO normal people do?

July 28, 2011 § 4 Comments

We bought a house! Did I forget to mention that? We did. It’s adorable, we are settling in, the backyard has lemons, blackberries, plums, and in the fall there should be apples, and I did this to the staircase:

Yes, that is glitter. Being a grownup is awesome.

If you’re in a chipper mood, skip the rest of this and just bask in the glory of that red glitter staircase.

Now, for the emo crowd: I’m not racing right now.  I’m not particularly happy about it, either.

On & off since 2008, I have struggled with heart palpitations on the bike. At first they seemed stress-related, then they seemed related to not enough sleep, then to too much intensity, and earlier this year they seemed to be related to stress again. Starting around June it became painfully clear that they were not related to just one thing, and they were not going away. Suddenly they didn’t only happen on the bike; they happened while I was walking around, while I was just sitting on the couch in my living room. And they started getting worse.

Turns out that my heart has a short circuit that makes it pump up to 300 beats per minute. The highest number my heart rate monitor recorded was 292 — not exactly what you want to see when you’re riding along in zone 2. My condition is fortunately not life-threatening, and is treatable with a minor procedure on my heart (I didn’t realize that there were minor procedures for the heart; I guess it’s all relative). Unfortunately I can’t have the procedure until late August, and I can’t ride on the road until I have it because there is a very real possibility that I will lose consciousness and crash. If I’m honest with myself, my season is over.

For the first time since 2004, I have a summer that isn’t devoted to racing. I have forgotten what people do when they are not racing crits all summer. Right now I’m fixing up the house, but I can only do so many projects before I’m going to go stir-crazy. Help me out, folks, I need summertime activities that don’t involve my bike.

Trader Vic’s: a review

May 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

A few weeks ago we went to Trader Vic’s in Emeryville, with the singular goal of getting a piña colada:

(Perfect hair optional.)

Unbelievably, piña coladas are not featured on the cocktail menu (!). This is a crime against classic rock right up there with Phil Collins being played on a dedicated station. I appropriately drowned my disappointment in something called a Suffering Bastard. Suffering tastes like cucumbers — who knew?

We happened to go on Mother’s Day, and we seriously underestimated the draw of a tiki bar as a preferred dinner venue for said holiday. The place was packed with moms and  their college-age children in varying levels of intoxication. We were fortunate enough to sit next to a family of four who were on at least their second round of cocktails. Their entrees and a fresh round of drinks arrived a few minutes after we sat down. About 30 seconds after that, Mom tossed her cookies all over her pretty pantsuit and stumbled across the dining room to the bathroom. Her daughter (who hugged a full beer just before Mom had her moment) followed her to help, and her husband & son dug into their meals like nothing had happened at all. I would love to see how this family celebrates St. Pat’s.

We made it through our meals with no further insanity inside the restaurant, though we were joined by a long-haired wild man who prowled the 8″ walkway around the exterior of the building. The server brought me a bouquet of Mother’s Day flowers with the check; I was willing to overlook the occasion & just enjoy the flowers until he said he was giving them to all the women who came in that night. Way to make a girl feel special…

Overall scores:

  • Food – We had some. I think it was good.
  • Drink – Don’t have what she had.
  • Ambience – Off the hook.

Adulthood might be overrated

May 3, 2011 § 2 Comments

Life off the bike is really cramping my style. We are knee-deep in a long-run exciting but short-run stressful new development that will greatly add to our “grownup” cred (not a baby). It has infiltrated all aspects of my life at this point, and to be perfectly honest it’s hard to get excited about anything right now. Except sleep. And food, but not as much as sleep.

In the meantime, my biggest accomplishment of the weekend is finishing this little guy:

The colors came out horribly but he is brown & orange. I hope he will be a good buddy for some dear friends’ son; I’m kind of surprised that I managed to finish it before the little fella outgrows stuffed animals.  Next up is a short-sleeved sweater with the rest of the orange yarn. And with luck, an improved attitude.

just ride

April 18, 2011 § 5 Comments

Redlands finished off what I consider “Phase I” of my racing season. That was the phase with all of the stage races (two is a lot for a critter like me) and the road races, the races that don’t play as much to my strengths as, say, crits. That was the phase that left me with the desire to go out and throw my cards on the table, all-in.

I want to win. I want to rip some legs off. That’s Phase II.

But you can’t really have phases without transitions between them, which is what the last two weekends have been. One weekend down in San Diego for the wedding of a dear friend; not very restful but good for the soul. Another weekend — this weekend — to just ride. It’s funny to me how quickly a person can forget how much fun you can have on a bike. I’m the kind of type-A who focuses so much on the training part that I lose sight of the “passion” part of the sport if I’m not careful. Luckily I have someone else keeping me on the right track, and so this weekend my “training” was to spend two sunny afternoons on my bike.

I forgot how just riding can be so much more than just riding.

And because I was too busy checking out the scenery to take any photos, here’s a picture of matching my nail polish-sweater combo. It was completely unintentional, but my subconscious must be trying to start a trend since I have managed to do it twice in the last three days. Both times I didn’t notice until it was too late to go home and change.

Racing cookbook – chocolate prune “muffins”

April 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

Sydney Brown, my roommate at Redlands, shared with me that she collects recipes from the people she stays with during races. That is one of the best ideas I’ve heard in a long time. As a lover of good food and a pack rat, I’m glad to have a souvenir that will last forever, will always be relevant, and won’t clutter up my apartment. I think I’m going to copy her and make my own racing cookbook, starting now.

I have been home for five days and I’m still eating like I’m at a stage race. Fortunately my kitchen isn’t as well-stocked as the one in my host house, so I’m not tempted by the peanut butter-chocolate cookies or strawberry pie that kept appearing. Another confection that kept showing up was a Loma Linda chocolate prune cake, which has quite a reputation for yumminess in Southern California. Unfortunately I couldn’t partake as wheat gives me stomachaches, so I had to wait until I got home to make it.

Of course, I can’t leave well enough alone so I halved the recipe and made a few changes. The final product ended up being a really tasty chocolate “muffin.” The texture is more muffin-like than cakelike, and I think that between the whole-grain flours and the prunes it just sneaks over the line into okay-for-breakfast territory. Barely. To make it a real cake follow the recipe in the link above.

Loma Linda Chocolate Prune Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup pitted prunes
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • a good glug of vanilla (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, add 1 teaspoon of vinegar to 1/2 cup milk, stir, let them sit together for a few minutes then stir again before using)
  • 1 1/4 cups flour (6.25 oz if you weigh your flour. I used a combination of oat, brown rice & buckwheat flours plus about 1/2 teaspoon xanthum gum)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • optional – 1/2 cup Macapuno (coconut sport strings)

Method:

1. Soak prunes in boiling water 30 minutes. Drain and set aside. If you’re using gluten free flours you might want to save the liquid in case you need to add some to the batter later, as gf flours often soak up more liquid than wheat flour.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Greased and flour or add liners to twelve muffin wells (or more if you want smaller muffins).

3. Combine oil, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, salt and vanilla in bowl. Add egg and beat until everything looks uniform and glossy, at least 1 minute.

4. Place the prunes and buttermilk in blender or food processor bowl and whiz them until they’re finely chopped. Particles are okay, you just don’t want any large chunks. Add to oil mixture with flour, baking soda and baking powder. Mix well. If the mixture looks more like bread dough than cake batter, add a little prune liquid until it looks like cake batter…trust your instincts! If desired, stir in the coconut strings.

5. Fill muffin wells about 3/4 of the way full. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Start checking muffins at 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Yield: 12 medium muffins

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