thoughts..r.un..n.in..g


A new day
January 20, 2009, 7:59 pm
Filed under: Life | Tags:
(Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times)

(Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times)

What blog in America today can post anything but even a blip about one of the biggest days in our nation’s history?

I am enlivened by what we have accomplished, and will accomplish as a nation. President Obama’s inaugural address moved me, not only to the brink of tears, but to be a better, more responsible citizen to my community, my nation, my planet earth. In the early days of the election, when I was still choosing among Obama, Hillary, or Edwards, I remember a conversation with my friends, J and A, who were decidedly Obama supporters already, about Barack Obama. “At a time when even I’m losing faith in us,” I recall J saying, “Obama still believes in us. I believe he’s genuine about it, and that gives me hope.”

Obama’s speeches throughout the election process, after November 4, and today still reflect that belief. He is calling us to actively participate in bringing changes, thus hope, and to lift ourselves out of the current turmoils instead of sitting back, arms folded, and watch (even worse to just expect) for things to get better.

“By expecting the best of us,” Author Ron Carlson wrote as quoted in the Los Angeles Times, “he just might get it.”

Washington is a huge machine, and not one man (no matter how popular and momentus Obama is right now) will be able accomplish such an arduous task of reforming the system by himself, and it is utterly unfair for us to expect him to turn the world around in the next two years, or even in one term. I am optimistic that change will happen, but it will only materialize in time if we all contribute.

What is life, after all, if it only involves oneself? What faint, colorless footprints will we leave in time if we tread alone out of our mother’s wombs linearly to our graves?

Today was an electrifying day. Grab another drink and belt out more ‘My Country Tis of Thee.’ But let tomorrow be a new day when you and I work to be more accountable neighbors to others. Pick a cause you care about, or find one that you can learn to trouble with, and run for it.

Courtesy of MarathonFoto

Photo credit: Courtesy of MarathonFoto

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what a girl wants
January 19, 2009, 6:37 pm
Filed under: babble

excited

This is how I felt this morning coming home from my run at the sight of this:

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Alas, my long awaited shoes, New Balance 859, has arrived! A Christmas morning moment all over again except that I’m back to kefir from eggnog. The sight inside the package made me giddy like a marbled piece of steak does to a (many) man.

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In recent months, I have started to notice my increasing enthusiasm for running gear shopping–shoes, running tops, sports bras, socks, shorts, caps–the list goes on. The tipping of the scale may now have toppled over as I hardly fancy shopping for normal attire. If I could, I would live in my running outfits. The truth is that I have never been able to function in these.

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While they look great, how do women walk in them? I’ve seen with my own eyes that there are women who can even run on cobblestone in them! I admire their athleticism. Right now, I’m much more into my lightweight, durable footwear that offers inner foot support and corrects my pronation, not to mention that they’re a beauty in their own right.

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I realize that I may need a nomination to see Stacy London pretty soon if this healthy inclination spirals me into a bum lounger. Please call for intervention if you see me in Addidas at the opera. 106922_xl



Quick, tasty dinner
January 16, 2009, 7:36 am
Filed under: Cooking/Food | Tags:

I had curry cravings today.  Japanese curry would have been my first choice, or a stew of some sort over couscous or rice. I didn’t have any ingredients to make any of that, so it was either a frozen dinner, or improvise something tastily curry.

I made Curry Fried (Brown) Rice with Shrimp and Cranberries. Turned out well.

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Brown rice is not the best grain for fried rice, but since it was the only kind on hand, I cooked it in the rice cooker with less water than I would normally use. After the rice cooled (or after much of the moisture in the freshly cooked rice has evaporated), I sauteed onions and garlic with the shrimp in a large pan until lightly browned, then added in the rice. Season the mixture with ground coriander, ground cumin, curry powder, and salt & pepper to taste. With dried, sweetened cranberries in my pantry, I threw in a handful to balance the earthiness of the cumin and the spiciness of the curry. Let the cranberries plump up for a few minutes on low heat, then right before turning off the heat, add in mint and flat  leaf parsley to brighten the flavors.

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It was the perfect dinner, hitting just the spot. The shrimp was meaty, the spices were tummy-warming, and the cranberries were sweet and plump. Even more satisfying is the fact that something improvised on the spot can turn out to be so good. Let me reiterate the ingredients:

3 cups of brown rice (uncooked)

12-15 shrimps, shelled and deveined

1/2 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3 pinches of ground coriander

3 pinches of ground cumin

4-5 pinches of curry powder

1 handful (possibly 1/4 cup) of dried, sweetened cranberries

2 sprigs of mint, chopped

2 sprigs of flat leaf parsley, chopped

salt & pepper to taste



TEXAS Size
January 12, 2009, 5:29 am
Filed under: babble

They say everything is bigger in Texas, it’s true. Land, freeways, houses, vehicles, food, and people-almost all things are supersized here. We have Super Targets (yay!) and Super Walmarts (boo!); the Costcos here are fearfully gigantic, although, thankfully, its portions are still kept at the standard size.

I drove by a certain Cupcake Cafe yesterday, whose $3.50 giant cupcakes were supposedly very decent. It was a 40-degree day, and a Texas size cupcake with a steaming cup of joe sounded perfect for the afternoon. As soon as I opened the door, I locked eyes with the gargantuan frosted cakes before me. For a moment, I saw and heard nothing else inside the cafe, and even rudely ignored the hello said to me by the man behind the sweet, sweet case. I realized (and for a second empathized) then that that must be how men feel when they rudely ogle at certain body parts on females in public.

There were not many varieties to choose from: carrot cake, red velvet, chocolate, double chocolate, turtle. Just as I was ready to order, I saw that there were regular size cupcakes in another part of the case, which are, in this cafe, referred to as the minis. I laughed.

I ordered one giant carrot cake and one giant red velvet to go, thinking it might be just right for my family to share since they are not big sweeties like me. In fact, I started doubting how big this cake really is, and two cakes were probably not enough. Brewing a cup of coffee at home, lifting the red velvet out of the box, I realized how wrong I was to doubt “Texas size.”

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And that pomegranate was of the Lone Star State standard too! Amazing.

It is no wonder Houston has been crowned the Fattest City in America twice in the last five years as this is the typical serving size of a Texas meal–3 egg veggie omelette, pancake (look at the size of that!), hash browns and toast,

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and how about a southern classic, biscuits & gravy.

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While it is deliciously satisfying, unfortunately, the incredible portions do come with an big price tag–health.

img_0001_31img_0002_31img_0003_3Take care, Houstonians. Maybe consider joining Team EONS.



Running Group
January 9, 2009, 11:56 pm
Filed under: Running | Tags: ,

Running group–I’m still trying to grapple with this social phenomenon where strangers come together to run but not necessarily alongside of one another.

I ran with a “group” tonight. It’s a quote-unquote group because I ended up running only with my cousin, Cynthia, which we could have done on our own. See, the story is that our neighborhood running store, Texas Running Company, holds a group run every Thursday, running an optional short loop of 1.8 miles or a big round of 4.8 miles. When Cyn and I arrived promptly at 6:30pm, several hard-core looking runners were stretching ready to go. Ten minutes of standing around, not knowing what the protocol was, those runners were still stretching–we were intimidated; Cyn wanted to leave. Finally, when the organizers of the group introduced us to the group, and asked which route we planned to do, Cyn and I found that we’ll be the only ones running the short loop on this night, and we were not planning to join the Happy Hour after.

We stayed to run the short loop ourselves anyway, and found that another first timer who is new to town is joining the short loop group as well. Only then did I feel like I was running with a group because there was a stranger in the mix.
View Interactive Map on MapMyRun.com

The route was surprisingly pleasant to run. We ran along a well-paved road encircling a man-made pond, a common sight in Sugar Land, where new, beautiful condos were being built. The night was perfect with clear skies and cool air in the upper 50s. After we ran the loop once, our group-maker had to leave, so Cyn and I decided to go for a second round. Upon finishing, we joined the long-loop runners back at starting point. After a few moments of chatting around the gatorade coolers, some runners waved their goodbyes while others continued chatting until one person finally pushed everyone onto the next social setting that includes food and beer.

Now are the last two ingredients what a running group make? There are certainly runners who only join for the running portion of the evening, but most stood around waiting for the eating and drinking portion of the evening to begin. I can understand joining a group for a common interest, and each gathering finishes with happy hour, but if you are one of those runners who join the group run yet run the route by yourself, don’t interact with anyone during the run, and say your goodbyes after the run, then what’s the incentive?



TEAM EONS for 2010 Houston Half Marathon
January 5, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Running | Tags: , ,

As in years past, after the Honolulu Marathon in December, I take a break from running for about two weeks when I am in Houston for the holidays. But after two weeks of around-the-clock holiday binging and the only muscle movements being my arms reaching for food, it’s very hard to start running again, especially doing so alone. This New Years Day, things changed, and I was excited to get back on the road.

Team EONS (Expert Oncology Network Solutions) was formed on New Years Day 2009 to run the 2010 Houston Half Marathon.  A team of three runners, my cousins and I, started strong with our inaugural run of 2.5 miles around our neighborhood on, suitably, the first day of the year and then a 3.5 mile loop on the following day. We have been talking about running the 2009 Houston Half together earlier in the year, but it is completely sold out. We decide to register early for 2010 as soon as the 2009 one is over (Jan 18).

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Since my 6@6 Club (TM) is still a two-women group, running with a group of three is, literally, one step up. Running with others is great for obvious reasons, forming a team, however, has other benefits–sponsorship. Details of the sponsorship have not been discussed, but I presume we’ll at least get some GU gels for the road and maybe a banana or two at the end of our 13.1 miles. We’re still in discussion as to which charity we should run for, but it will most likely be cancer-related. Meanwhile, we’ve established logistics to make the training more rewarding, like logging stats and mapping routes. And yes, sometimes, that part can be more fun than the actual run.