Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Made more cupcakes! One failed batch (I forgot about them and left them in the oven an extra 20 minutes... They were nasty), but the second time they turned out perfectly! Here they sit, ready for consumption! I'm having some people over before we go see Eclipse tonight at midnight (yeah, yeah, I hear your snickers all the way over here). In my defense, I read the series before it became mainstream. So, I'm a legitimate fan.

Anyway, here are two pictures of the new cupcakes! I haven't eaten a whole one, yet - waiting on the guests to do that - but I've tasted the ganache and peanut butter filling. Both were DIVINE! Did I mention they're completely vegan? Down to the Earth Balance Shortening I bought today. Coffee's brewin'. Time to welcome the guests!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream Filling.Topped with Chocolate Ganache and more PB Buttercream Filling!

Also on the menu tonight: Kale Chips (Kale chopped and tossed with salt and oil, then oven-cooked until crispy) and Espresso. And whatever the guests bring. Oh, and Edward Cullen. Mmmm-mmm!

P.S. Location: Nashville condo in the Gulch.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Christianity Defined... by Lewis

I'd like to share an amazing book with you. This is my second summer to try and finish Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis and I am thoroughly enjoying it. The book requires a lot of thought, so I am working slowly through the chapters, taking time to underline particularly good pieces and reflect on all of it. Lewis writes the book as a definition of Christianity without diving into theologies that are particular to any one denomination. Instead, he does his best to explain Christianity in its simplest form - the tenants of the faith, morals and principles, what all Christians believe about Jesus and God, etc. It's a wonderful book for someone who is not a Christian but interested in what Christianity is all about. For any person who has heard only the basic plot of Jesus' tale and might be curious about the rest of it, I'd highly recommend Mere Christianity.

For those of us who have already committed our lives to Christ, Lewis has some fantastic reminders and wonderful ways to explain our dearest held beliefs. He will re-affirm your faith and leave you looking forward to the next life with a renewed sense of purpose in the present life. He might even answer some questions you forgot you had. If you haven't already read it, it should be added to your list ASAP.

If you have already read it, you'll enjoy these favorite snippets I've underlined so far:

"God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot giveus a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing. That is the key to history. Terrific energy is expended - civilizations are built up - excellent institutions devised; but each time something goes wrong. Some fatal flaw always brings the selfish and cruel people to the top and it all slides back into misery and ruin. In fact, the machine conks. It seems to start up all right and runsa few yards, and then it breaks down. They are trying to run it on the wrong juice. That is what Satan has done to us humans." (50).

"Fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms. . . Can we do it if God helps us? Yes, but what do we mean when we talk of God helping us? We mean God putting into us a bit of Himself, so to speak. He lends us a little of His reasoning powers and that is how we think: He puts a little of His love into us and that is how we love one another." (56-57).

"The Christian is in a different position from other people who are trying to be good. They hope, by being good, to please God if there is one; or - if they think there is not - at least they hope to deserve approval from good men. But the Christian thinks that any good hi does comes from the Christ-life inside him. He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us..." (63).

Good night and God bless you!

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Humidity is at 76%... That is all.

Thank God it's Friday! I almost didn't get out of bed for my run today, but I found the willpower and I'm so glad I did! It was a beautiful 77 degrees and cloudy, with the humidity at a whopping 76%. All of nature was out and rejoicing in the dampness. After almost a week of 100-degree, sunny weather, the rain and clouds were welcomed yesterday and the continued dampness felt really good this morning. I went for my longest run/walk, yet - 25 minutes in my neighborhood, working in 1-1.5 minute runs and 1-minute walks. I tried not to allow myself to walk for more than a minute.

Summary of my thoughts, in list form:

1. I didn't even need my Vibrams for the first 10 minutes or so! This means two things (oh boy, a list within a list?!)
a) My feet and skin are toughening up.
b) My form has improved, so I am not damaging my feet as much (this is probably it, since I listened and found that my barefoot steps were nearly silent today!)
c) The very-slightly-damp ground provided just enough slip to prevent excess friction (yeah, this one's a little far-fetched).
Post-run assessment reveals no blisters, only hot spots. I am so excited!

2. Maybe it was just the humidity, but today's run was hard. I was out of breath more quickly than I normally am, and my muscles would start to burn sooner than normal. Maybe I'm just a pansy, but at the end of a minute of jogging, my legs felt like lead and I was gasping. I think it's all mental. Maybe taking an iPod would help keep me going a bit more next time?

3. I'm beginning to grasp the importance of frequency. I need to run frequently to stay where I want to be and keep making progress. I need to work out frequently to perform better on my runs. Sounds like common sense, right? Since I can't go for a run Sunday, I might as well get out there again tomorrow morning.

4. Other odd aches and pains included a cramped right calf, strange ache up nearly the top of my left leg, my left ankle still popping all the time. I think there's something wrong with it. It doesn't hurt. Just pops and messes up my "run silent" goal. Stretching has taken care of most of this. Not the ankle, though. Stretching doesn't improve Snap-Crackle-Pop Lefty, though.

5. Perhaps my other runs were better because I had my coffee before the run.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thursday is All About Food

Today, I'll make this:

Summer Stir Fry by the Pioneer Woman! I love, love, love her website. I visit it daily for inspiration, laughter and hope. Substituting tofu for the shrimp. Serving it over rice.

And these:

Vegan Mint Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. We have two of the Cookies'n'Cream cupcakes left... Wonder who I can give them to? I bought my first foray into cake decorating yesterday at Hobby Lobby. Just a set of disposable icing bags and the parts that go on the end of it. Hopefully I can post some pictures tonight!

My little brother is at Scout Camp this week, so it's just us women around the house, chit-chatting all day. We went shopping yesterday, met Dad for lunch, and I worked the closing shift at Bruster's Ice Cream. Today the subjects we keep circling around seem to be our favorites: relationships, relationships, relationships! (not just the romantic kind, either).

Another great event has happened this week...
Mom and Dad ate veggie burgers for dinner Tuesday night. Willingly. Of their own accord. No encouragement from me! Boogie ate a regular burger, since she is blood type O and the Blood Type Diet encourages her to eat a whole lot of meat - all the time. Both Mom and Dad are A's like me and the Blood Type Diet says that we should strive to be vegetarians since our bodies and blood respond well to organic, simple vegetables. With time, my family will hopefully switch to organic meat, since I've continually reminded them of the terrible hormones, antibiotics, etc. that are present in non-organic meat. I refuse to be a nag or a bother, however, and mostly let them do what they want. Thankfully, my family has always been interested in doing what is healthy. I told them that I just want us all to live to be really, really old together.

I also washed my hair with vinegar and baking soda today, trying to get all the conditioner and shampoo buildup out. I'd like a fresh start with my hair. Curls can be fussy. NaturallyCurly.com has been such an inspiration to me, and I've been very encouraged to just enjoy my hair for what it is - wild and sexy! More on that later.

The stir fry was FANTASTIC! Boogie and I both had second helpings and it is truly worth it to shuck the corn and cut it from the cob, rather than use frozen or canned corn. It just tastes better!

The cupcakes were a little more complicated. Well, they were fine, but the icing was complicated. Perhaps the trouble came from the fact that we used coconut oil instead of shortening. It took almost five cups of powdered sugar, instead of the prescribed three, to get it to piping consistency. Needless to say, it's too sweet. The cupcakes themselves turned out beautifully! I used cake flour instead of plain ole all-purpose. It was a great move! We put the too-sweet mint icing on half of the cupcakes and the leftover cookies'n'cream icing on the rest. Looking forward to more deliciousness this week!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dessert, Anyone?

My book arrived today! Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World! It took me a long while to choose a recipe, because they all looked so delicious! The book is full of fabulous pictures and the cupcakes I made actually look as fantastic as they taste! After a lot of debate (and mostly a lot of rummaging to figure out what ingredients we had on hand), I settled on the basic Chocolate Cupcake recipe with Oreos mixed into the buttercream frosting on top. The actual cupcakes were very simple and took hardly any time. I spent a lot more time cleaning up the kitchen than baking. The frosting took a little longer. It needs to stay in the mixer, just beating and beating, until it reaches a certain consistency. Even after I felt like the icing was spreadable, it was still a little soft for my taste. However, it will likely harden up a bit overnight and the creamy frosting/moist cupcake combination was a winner. Mom and Boogie both had one and both approved! Mom is quite the baker and can be picky when it comes to dessert, so her "I like them!" counts for ten people. I can't wait to try the banana split cupcake recipe and Dad is stoked about the Lychee cupcakes! Happy baking days are ahead! I believe I'll invest in a cupcake tote and display stand...


Barefoot runnin' time! I headed out this morning around 8AM and it was already nearly 80 degrees outside. Today the high is 98 and it will be sunny, not a cloud in the sky! Definitely the kind of heat that makes you want to stay in.

I wasn't pleased with my performance this morning. I ran for about 2 minutes at a time and walked for a minute or two at a time, but I was hoping to be up to 3 or 4 minutes of jogging for every minute of walking by now. The good news is that I took my Vibrams and went barefoot for the first eight minutes, then put on my Five Fingers before any major damage was done. I'm excited about this! The Vibrams will allow me to retain my running form while letting my skin toughen slowly. Still have some tender spots under my toes, but they're doing well and not turning into blisters.

My new cookbook - Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World - arrives sometime today! I am very, very excited! My Dad added me to his Amazon Prime membership only four days ago and I've already taken advantage of it twice! Yesterday I ordered a Burt's Bees skincare kit from Amazon. With the free shipping, most items are actually cheaper through Amazon than at my local bookstore or grocery!

My skin has dramatically improved since I made some changes last week. For four days, I didn't eat dessert and I cut back on dairy. Then I bought a supplement formulated for skin, hair and nails at the Vitamin Shoppe a week ago. It's probably too early to really tell if there will be lasting difference, but my skin has certainly improved over the past week. It's increasing my confidence in a major way, as well.

On the recipe to-do list this week:
Thrive Homemade Sports Drink
Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Homemade Granola Bars

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Hike

It's Father's Day, and Dad and I celebrated accordingly by going on a long hike at Radnor Lake in our Vibram Five Fingers. The lake is about 15 minutes from our condo in the Gulch, Nashville.

We had a lovely, 30-or-40-minute walk/jog in mind... We got a 90-minute climb/hike, instead. By the end, we were both exhausted but pleased with ourselves for working so hard. The trails were dirt with mulch on top and some stretches of gravel. The park was damaged during the floods and one of the trails is still closed. We took the route around the lake and Ganier Ridge Trail, which was mostly an uphill climb with downhill switchbacks. It was beautiful and hot. Most of the trails are shaded by woods, so the sun wasn't beating down on us too much (thank goodness).

We were able to jog a bit, but mostly we just walked at a brisk pace through the beautiful woods. Being on a trail in Vibrams was a new experience (all experiences in my Vibrams are new, I suppose) and Dad got some blisters. There was a lot of gravel and many rocky stretches that required more concentration to navigate. I stubbed a few different toes when I wasn't watching carefully enough. No lasting damage, I have no blisters or scrapes. My feet feel like they've been squished, wrung out and left to hang dry. Sort of like jelly. The fact that it was 90 degrees by the time we finished contributed to the jelly-feel of my legs. In the coming weeks, I will be renewing my Pilates workouts. Side stitches and back aches are signals that your core is weak and not pulling its weight during the workout. I suffered multiple aches like that during the hike and even felt nauseous quite a bit. Perhaps more reading on RunnersWorld.com will answer my questions.

For Father's Day, I gave Dad a Vibram Five Fingers T-shirt. It's beautiful, dark red, organic fabric and it looks great on him! He was also given a pair of Injini socks to wear with his Five Fingers and some snacks. Not much in the way of gifts this year, but he's very difficult to buy for and he's already bought so much for himself lately. He is one very loved man!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Three Lists in One

Summer is usually my time to finally do all the awesome things I've been wanting to do all year. Since I am hopelessly addicted to lists, here are two:

Summer Shopping List

Summer To Do List
  • Organize my Recipe Binder
  • Make Ketchup
  • Finish reading Woman Defined
  • Finish reading Mere Christianity
  • Make this coffee cake
  • Reach the point where I run 40 minutes at a time
  • Try homemade vegan ranch dressing
  • Make veggie burgers from scratch
  • Make homemade hummus
  • Take Josie and Popo to the dog park
  • Finish reading Eat Right 4 Your Type
  • Go see: Toy Story 3, Prince of Persia, Eclipse
  • Find our old bread machine and all it's parts
  • Drink more hot tea

These lists are always works-in-progress. We'll see where they go!

A note about the vegan stuff...
Eat Right 4 Your Type says that blood type A's do not digest dairy very well. It's not that we're allergic or lactose intolerant (though some of us might be), simply that our bodies reject it. When I became a vegetarian in January, I increased the amount of soy milk I drank and switched from regular cheeses to soy cheeses. Then, I returned to regular cheeses and went back to using half-and-half in my coffee. Right now, I tend to go back and forth. One week, I'm all about the soy milk in my coffee. The next, I'm dumping cheese on everything and downing ice cream like it's my job (wait, eating ice cream is part of my job...) Now I'm back on my no-dairy kick. Don't get me wrong, I'm no stickler about this. I love sunny-side up eggs and cheddar cheese. I put loads of Smart Balance butter on my toast and no matter how hard I try, I just can't enjoy a bagel without the cream cheese. Cutting back, however, can only be a good thing. The fact that Mom bought Almond Milk - one of God's greatest gifts to man - has aided the process. Thanks to Eat Right 4 Your Type, I've made these changes:
  • Drinking hot tea more often
  • Eating more nuts and grains
  • Drinking soy milk more regularly
  • Taking my multivitamin every day
  • Drinking more fruit juice and adding fruit juice to my water
More rants/rambles/updates later. Have a wonderful day!

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Day in the Life... Wearing Vibrams

It's been a busy day. I slept in some, and since I went for two barefoot runs yesterday, I skipped the workout this morning. Waking up hungry has always been a habit of mine, and boy was I ever starved when I rolled out of bed today! Breakfast was a plum, two slices of toasted Ezekeil Cinnamon Raisin bread, slices of strawberry... And, after a few minutes, the second half of Boogie's bagel with cream cheese (I couldn't resist... I just love bagels with cream cheese!).

I put on my new shoes (if one can even call the Vibram Five Fingers shoes) and off we went!

1. Dropped off my little brother at a friend's house where he will spend the day preparing for a "stage night" with his friends and their families. This is the sort of thing homeschoolers do, and it is so beautiful. There is nothing quite as special as families celebrating their children together, admiring their talent and visiting. I'm looking forward to tonight's event!

2. We went to the mall to look at flatware, since Mom is still in search of supplemental spoons to use here in the condo. From Macy's we moved on to Davis Kidd Booksellers, where Boogie and I looked at books for too little time. I could easily have spent another hour or two browsing the vegan and vegetarian cookbooks. I have only one small vegetarian cookbook with few useful recipes. I have since found that there are loads of vegetarian recipes out there that my traditional, Southern-raised family has never encountered. I found a few books I thought were interesting, and none of them were baking-related! Quite an accomplishment for a girl who tends to make bee-lines for the cookie recipes and brownie books. Alas, nothing was purchased, though ideas were gathered.

3. We stopped by Starbucks to pick up a hostess gift for the Father's Day Lunch we're going to tomorrow, then hurried to Whole Foods for lunch. I grabbed vegan chocolate chips while I was in the store, looking forward to another baking adventure later this week.

4. Went to Kroger. By this time, Mom and I were exhausted. I was starting to feel my feet a bit more, the muscles were beginning to tire. Three hours in the Vibrams was about all I could handle today, I suppose. We flew through Kroger, stopped by the Cheesecake Factory to pick up a cake for tomorrow's luncheon, and came home to put together a broccoli salad.

5. No one pointed and laughed at my funny shoes!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Worth a Thousand Words

Running with Boogie

Ah, Thursday dawned bright and beautiful, with blue skies and puffy white clouds. Boogie and I went for a barefoot walk. She has decided she would like to get into the barefoot running thing with the rest of the fam. I coached her through some of the basics. We jogged for only a minute before she felt like her calves and feet had had enough. Boogie is the least-athletic one of us. This will take some time, but hopefully she'll stick with it! It would be awesome to have a running buddy next semester when we're living together in Nashvegas.

Speaking of Nashvegas, I'm all packed and ready to go. The weekend away will be lovely, filled with events with friends and time at the pool. Well, maybe no time at the pool... That lovely day I just described? It's now a dark greenish-gray outside and the birds have disappeared. My sources have confirmed that in Nashville, it is "pouring." Oh well. More time for.... shopping!

I got an email from Crossroads this week (Crossroads is where I bought my Vibrams). They were about to ship my Vibrams - the last pair in their warehouse! - when they discovered a problem with the stitching on one of the shoes. They refunded my money and I am again Vibram-less. I'm going to try REI and perhaps a few other stores down in Nashville this weekend, before again searching online. Hopefully I'll be able to buy a pair in-person, take them home, and go for a run!

Monday, June 14, 2010

In the Kitchen

I've been lazy today and didn't go for a run early this morning as originally planned. When the alarm went off, I hit snooze a few times too many. Being out late last night at church was a workout in itself. God moved in a powerful way and many lives were changed!

Boogie and I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday before the evening church service. She looked at several fashion magazines while I scanned VegNews. It was a beautiful magazine and inspiring to see so many other vegetarians. (They even had a feature on 8 vegan weddings, the cakes looked glorious!) Sometimes I feel like I'm one of a very small group of odd people who refuse to eat one of the staples of our American diet (meat). While the magazine was too full of animals rights rants for my taste, the recipes and information about maintaining a vegetarian diet were very useful! Having just re-read information in the Blood Type Diet that explains why people with Type A blood are healthiest on a mostly-vegan diet, I'm re-inspired. It's fascinating to me that a simple fast at the beginning of the year - just one month without meat - ended up changing the way my body felt and my energy level so dramatically. Until this point, I've been convinced that it is simply the hormone levels in our highly-processed, non-organic meat that were bothering me. However, Eat Right 4 Your Type suggests that people with Type A blood tend to have lower levels of acid in their stomachs and their bodies process meat slowly, storing it as fat. Our bodies tend to thrive on vegetable proteins and products in their most natural, organic state. While there are lots of people who would likely eat their own pets before giving up meat, I've loved the way I feel when I'm meatless! I rarely feel "heavy" or sluggish after eating. I can taste so much more variety in my foods that I never noticed before. I'm happier.

Done with that tangent. As I said, VegNews had some recipes in it... I wrote down a recipe for vegan chocolate chip cookies and made them this morning. Now, you must understand that I was skeptical. My family is big on sweets. We eat a LOT of dessert around here and Mom bakes something at least once each week. In fact, at this moment we have two tubs of ice cream, chocolate peanut butter bars and brownies all in the house. We're pretty picky when it comes to desserts. It must have chocolate. It should be from scratch. It is best chewy (Dad might protest that one, he likes crunchy cookies). So, the idea of vegan cookies sounded... Well... Adventurous? Risky? But I was in the mood for an adventure, so I was in the kitchen at 9:30AM, putting the cookie sheet in the oven.

They are DELICIOUS! Even Boogie and Quad think so! (Boogie is my nickname for my little sister, in case you forgot, and she's in college but the name was given to her when she was a baby... Quad is the nickname for my brother, still in high school, but always the greatest guy around).

So, here's the recipe:

Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup non-hydrogenated margarine
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup applesauce
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 370.
Combine sugar, margarine, vanilla and applesauce.
Add flour, baking soda, and salt.
Stir until dough begins to stiffen.
Add chocolate chips.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet.
Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until light brown.

Yesterday evening I made Oatmeal Raisin bars. They are very sweet and delicious, and also very easy. Next time I will use some sort of sugar substitute, since I feel like they are too sweet for me (and even though I work at an ice cream shop, I still like to watch my sugar intake). I also made some major changes. We were out of rolled oats. So, I used original instant oatmeal for 1 cup and apple cinnamon instant oatmeal for the other 1/4 cup, emptying the breakfast packets into the measuring cups until I had enough. I'm sure the texture would be crunchier and less crumbly if I had used rolled oats. The addition of the cinnamon/apple oatmeal really made it sweet and dessert-like. I'll re-make them following the recipe next time and post it here.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Little Scratch, Big Pain

So, that little scratch on the bottom of my right foot became a blister that bugged me all day. I treated it, taped it, and it's less painful today (though still not 100%). I'm re-applying aloe frequently.

Yesterday I bought the components of my self-made barefoot running kit. A few things I picked up from around the house, the rest I got at the grocery. The kit (aka shoebox on my bookshelf) contains:
  • Aloe gel
  • Baby wipes (to use after runs and during runs before I put on my shoes)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Cotton Balls
  • Bug Spray (unscented)
  • Sterile Gauze
  • Masking Tape
  • Epsom Salt

Basically, it's a first aid kit for my feet. The baby wipes will be very useful for running on trails or in the park. I can give my feet a quick wipe-down before I get in the car or put on my shoes. The Epsom salt is my favorite. It cleans my feet and helps heal wounds without moisturizing and ruining my pads. It is also good for muscles and bruises. Bug spray is a necessity, of course. I've already used some sterile gauze that we had in the cabinet to clean and cover blisters, taping it down to make it sort of like a bandage. I'm steering clear of band aids for now because they are more expensive and I would be tempted to leave them on for longer periods of time. The feet need to breathe!

I also went shopping yesterday....

Hello, Vibrams!!! I really wanted the light pink ones, but they just did not have them in a Women's 40 anywhere in the whole world. Black, however, will match just about everything I wear and will look like normal shoes at first glance (or so I hope). If I'm lucky, they'll arrive before we head to Nashville next week.

I tried to go vegan this weekend. Lasted almost 24 hours. I started to feel ill - not from the changed diet, but from the long hours and lack of sleep I've had lately. It's hard enough to be the only vegetarian in a very carnivorous Southern home. To be a vegan in such an environment? VERY difficult. It will have to wait until I'm at school in the fall. When I'm doing all my own grocery shopping and cooking, the lifestyle is a lot easier to maintain. I do not think I could ever become truly vegan. I love dessert too much. Real desserts, with sugar, milk, eggs... Ice cream... I also do not want to supplement my diet with too much soy. However, simply eating more fruit, vegetables and nuts can be nothing but good for me!

It's time to finish getting ready for church and get some breakfast. Coffee mug could use some topping-off, too. Happy Sunday!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hot Day = Sweaty Run

It is a HOT day! The high is 91. When I left the house at 8:15, it was already 83 and humid. I went for a run - barefoot, carrying tennis shoes and socks - in my neighborhood. Chose a longer route this time, determined to run lighter and longer. I did increase my time, arriving back at the house at 17.45 minutes. I discovered a few things.

1. I've been bouncing up and down a whole lot. When I actually concentrate on keeping my head and shoulders level and moving just my feet, my energy immediately increases. The vertical distance is taking a LOT of energy to maintain.

2. My calves aren't sore. Even though I ran more and walked less this round, my calves feel fine. The first run nearly put my legs out of commission for a few days, my calves were SO tight. I also added some speed this time, practicing some sprints. In a few minutes, it'll be time for a thorough stretch.

3. My blisters are feeling better, though I think one of them has started to return. Another is finally peeling off. There is a tender spot on the left side of my right foot, just under the big toe on the outside edge of the ball of my foot. It looks and feels like the upper layers of skin have been scraped off. It's not bleeding, but it stings terribly. I've washed my feet and put a load of Aloe on the scrape, then taped a sterile gauze to it. I'll have to do some research to find out if my form is suffering here, or if it's just a callus issue.

4. I felt it more in my quads this time. I think this is because I was trying not to bounce up and down. Perhaps I am over-striding... Not that I mind giving my quads a workout!

5. People stare at you when you run barefoot. There's a neighborhood yard sale today, so all the country folk were out and "shopping" already. I tried hard not to be shy, but ended up walking past a lot of the big groups, anyway, just because it attracts less attention. Especially carrying shoes, barefoot runners are not a common sight. One lady biked past me and actually gasped when she realized I was carrying my shoes and not wearing them. I just smiled and kept going! Heck, a month ago, I might have done the same!

That's all for now! In other news, I bought another goldfish yesterday! His name is Goose and he is a telescope eye goldfish. I'll get some pictures up soon. Maverick and Goose seem very happy together. I knew Maverick needed a friend, and I've spotted them playing a few times! It's very cute.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Summary of 2.5 Months in 7 Points

So, obviously I haven't been here in a while. A lot has happened since the March 8th post! I am hopelessly addicted to lists and will now put the events between March 8th and today - June 11 - in list format. Enjoy!

1. The boy and I dated for 2(ish) months. I broke up with him for a variety of reasons, most of which had to do with personality differences that were driving me crazy and religious differences that became deal-breakers. I have since resigned myself to the fact that no one but a person whose religious beliefs are exactly like mine will do. This is not unreasonable - God can do anything. I have also decided that an introvert simply will not do, either. I like the idea of someone quiet and calm but in the end, it drives me bonkers and I feel that he is not generous. Regardless of my efforts to change my paradigm on this subject, I still feel like shy people are rude people. I give freely of my thoughts as a contribution to others - to make them feel included, desired and a part of something. People who refuse to contribute are, in my humble opinion, withholding good things from others. The language I'm using is overly harsh, but the moral of the story is this: my personality and pet peeves will drive an introvert crazy should he think to date me, and I'll spare both himself and myself the pain and try to date extroverts. The reasons I haven't been attracted to extroverts so far are for another post.

2. Boogie (nickname for little sister) is now blissfully in love with a really great guy. I feel like he's a part of our family already and we are all very excited to have him!

3. The school year ended and I have moved home to Bowling Green, KY. The end of the year was both very hectic and tainted by the aforementioned breakup. My grandparents came into Nashville for my 21st birthday and the seven of us lived at the condo for a day or two. It was a tight squeeze and it makes me wonder how the world my Aunt, Uncle and two cousins will live there for four days in July. Two bedrooms, two baths, one living space, no doors, nine people. That will be CRAZY!

4. Maverick (my adorable Black Moor goldfish, whom I love more than just about anything but not more than my cat, Scout) is now in a 5-gallon tank on a bookshelf in our living room. He is about has happy as he tends to be, which isn't as much as you'd think. Over all, he tends to be a moody little dear. I will be adding a second fish to his tank this weekend. I hope to find a Telescope Eye goldfish and name him Iceman. More on that later!

5. Oh, I've also taken up running! Barefoot. Dad discovered it and bought a few books. I picked up and read Barefoot Running by Michael Sandler, and now I'm hooked. It will take a long time for me to build up any speed or distance. My last run was a series of 60-second runs and 90-second walks for a total of 13 minutes before the skin on my feet protested enough to send me home. As my skin toughens, my distance will increase. It will be slow going, but it is so much fun to feel the ground beneath your feet!

6. My next goal will be to find a way to incorporate time with God into my runs. I figure the runs should serve a dual purpose. Otherwise, I'm likely to give up on them in favor of something else that feels more productive.

7. The family is slowly adjusting to the fact that I am a vegetarian and that it's not likely to change anytime soon. For the next three days, I'll be 100% vegan and dessert-less. (Fasting with my church, praying about some big things). I went for a barefoot run with a friend of mine here in Bowling Green last weekend and she's very open to the vegetarian thing. I might make a convert out of her without even trying! My decision to become a vegetarian is purely based on my body and how it feels. Barefoot Running requires us to get more in touch with our body and become aware of how it works/what it tells us. My decision to listen to my body in January led me to give up meat. If you feel good while eating meat (though I believe that in order to really test it out, you'd have to go meatless for at least 3 weeks), then more power to you!

That's enough for now. Hope that you have a lovely day!