Breaking Motoring News

August 29, 2007

I’m supposed to get my hands on my new MINI (and, almost as good, simultaneously be rid of my old car) this Friday at 3:00pm.


Mapping the Portland marathon

August 28, 2007

Thirty-nine days until the Portland Marathon. Their map of the course is a bit hard to orient off of. No, that’s just being nice: it sucks. Here’s one someone put up on — a lot better.

Hill Running and Ice Falling

August 27, 2007

Saturday’s Portland Fit run was 13 miles, on that same out-and-back route we took once before, down to the waterfront, up past Duniway park to the start of Terwilliger, then up Terwilliger to Capitol Highway. It’s a moderate long climb (some say it’s more than moderate), I wasn’t feeling that great (allergies? Zoloft withdrawals?), but I still managed to average 8:58 miles. I’m not sure why I ran it hard, but I guess I did, because I was pretty tired and sore for the rest of the day.

The next day, still a little sore, I went ice skating at Lloyd Center: a MiPL event. I think this is the third time in my life I’ve been skating, or possibly the second; in any case, it was the first time since college. Back then, either I didn’t have tight enough skates or I really did have that age-old excuse, “weak ankles”, because I never could keep the skate blades vertical. This time, no problem! So that was fun. I could skate along all right, get up a good head of steam, and turn ok most of the time. I couldn’t really stop. Not quickly anyway. This resulted in a few spectacular falls. The first one involved slamming hard to the ice, and then, on my continued momentum (damn you Newton!), slamming hard into the wall. The MiPL crowd really enjoyed that one. That same lap, I had one of those falls where you kind of lift up into the air and then come down as hard as you can on one ass cheek. Believe it or not, after those two falls, I started skating a little more conservatively.

So after that, I was both sore and bruised, but happy. This evening I did only three miles with the PRC group, but it didn’t feel too awful.

Dessert, Caffeine

August 27, 2007

OK, I’ve been eating way the hell too much dessert the last week or two. I admit it. But let me just say, we went to Papa Haydn after a meat-and-potatoes (and onion-ring) dinner at Ringside on Thursday, and it. was. so. good.  I know, it’s sad I’ve never been there before. Well, there it is. The only problem? About halfway through dessert, I realized that I was stuffed, and I wasn’t quite sure I meant it figuratively: it felt like my stomach was full and the food was starting to creep well up the ol’ esophagus. Ah well. The sacrifices we make.

At least I had decaf coffee.

Actually, staying away from caffeine hasn’t been that hard. The worst challenge was Sunday night, at a Chinese restaurant. I love inhaling little cup after little cup of hot tea at Chinese restaurants! My mom was cruel, too, making a big deal about how good the tea was! Fie on her!

Recovery Post — you know, just to get the fingers loosened up?

August 23, 2007

I skipped running Tuesday (the shame, the shame)  so made up for it by doing a rare Wednesday run. The Beaverton location of the Portland Running Company actually has a Wednesday evening group in addition to the Monday one I usually run with, so I headed down there and ran six miles with three other regulars. It felt all right, but I’m still having some calf stiffness. This morning I decided to do a little recovery jog — that’s where your goal is just to get the blood flowing and the muscles loosened up — around the neighborhood, 1.3 miles. That actually felt pretty good. Saturday we’re doing a 13-miler up Terwilliger and back, so I want to take it nice and easy for the rest of the day today, and tomorrow.

So I got M into training seriously by betting him $50 that I would beat him in the Albany “Eat and Run”, a 5K he does every year.  Today, inexplicably, was the first time I checked the date of that race against my over-full calendar. Wouldn’t you know it. That same day we’re doing our last long run, a 21-miler that I hope to stretch to 22. Then there’s a three week taper, then the actual marathon. Even putting aside the fact that I’d like to run the long run with the group (hey, they have aid stations, with pretzels), there didn’t seem to be any way to reschedule the long run without seriously compromising my marathon. Doing both the race and the long run the same weekend sounds like a disaster, doing the long run the next weekend would cut my three-week taper down to two, and doing it the previous week probably wouldn’t be so great either — plus that weekend was pretty busy already. So. I feel just awful about it, but I’m backing out of the race. If M gets a time that I know I couldn’t beat (and it’s looking like he should), then I’ll pay up… otherwise we’ll have to figure something else out. If he thinks it’s fair that I pay the wager in any case, I’ll do that.

What else? Last night after running I stopped at Sears and bought a new vacuum cleaner. My old 14-year-old one finally broke down on me — not that it was working well anyway. The new one is quieter, sucks harder (in, you know, a good way), is easier to push,  and doesn’t make a burnt-rubber smell when running. (I know, I know: I needed a new belt. Life’s too short.)

I’m down to 1/8 my original dose of the Zoloft, and I think I’m beginning to see some withdrawal symptoms. Or one symptom — drowsiness and fatigue. It’s supposed to last a few weeks, and can probably be finessed by slipping in the occasional larger dosage, so it’s not a big deal. So far, I’m not noticing any increased anxiety or worrying. :-D

Pok Pok and Rimsky’s

August 22, 2007

For our four-week anniversary, I took Sweetie to Pok Pok, a Thai restaurant. But calling it a “Thai restaurant” isn’t descriptive: you probably think Thai means four different curries with your choice of chicken, shrimp, pork, beef, or tofu, plus Pad Thai, and, if you’re lucky, a decent Tom Yum soup, right? Right. Pok Pok isn’t that. Pok Pok is a temple to Thai street food (think hot sour salty sweet perfectly grilled delicacies) that started as a small walk-up shack and has grown into a sprawling little complex that includes a great bar, truly exciting food, and a waitstaff that’s happy to get into the gory details of what’s good and which rice goes with what, when the intricate menu gets overwhelming. Oh, and along the way, it got named the 2007 Oregonian restaurant of the year — which I think is unusual for a place that doesn’t have any dishes over $15 or so. (Though they are small plate dishes, and you’ll want three or four of them for two people.)

Pok Pok was wonderful, I’m starting to salivate thinking about the leftovers I’m having for lunch today, and I can’t wait to go back again. If only we had stayed for dessert.

But I just had to go to the Rimsky-Korsakoffeehouse instead. I’d been reading about this place, this local institution, ever since I started researching coffee shops open late. It sounded so good — it’s in an old house, there’s no sign (you just have to know it’s there), it’s all funky and weird, people seem to like it. Sweetie had told me it wasn’t really that great, but she was game for another trip and me making up my own mind. “Not really that great” turned out to be overselling it: I can’t believe anybody goes there twice. The service was miserable (for some unimaginable reason they wait tables instead of having a counter), the hot chocolate positively watery, and the ($6.50!) Waffle Hot Fudge Sunday? Well, the ice cream was OK. The hot fudge tasted like warmed-up Hershey’s syrup. The whip cream was either underwhipped or, more likely, had sat around too long. And the waffle? The little tiny Belgian waffle under there? Thank goodness it was so small — it still must have weighed a pound. I should have brought a Dremel Tool to cut it. Oy. Yeah, it’s funky and grungy-hip and seems like a great place to people-watch, but they must spend about $50 a month on cleaning and upkeep in that place and have a 9000% markup on their desserts — so I wonder who’s pocketing all that profit. What a scam!

I used my ice cream maker twice in two days

August 20, 2007

So, even though I read Unclutterer and am therefore required by doctrine to hate large, rarely used counter-top appliances, I do own and love an enormous shiny stainless-steal beast of an Italian-made ice cream maker, the Musso Lussino 4080. Despite its enormous size, it only makes a quart-and-a-half of ice cream or so, but it does a good job, and, more importantly, has a built-in-freezer system. It’s a beautiful rock-solid machine and I love it, but I have to admit I don’t use it too often. So it was exciting to use it twice this weekend.

Saturday after my 11-mile run was the MiPL farmer’s market shopping and cooking event, which only seven people were still signed up for. It worked out well, though — it was still a crowded enough kitchen. I was on the dessert team, and it came out well:


The idea was to go for two desserts, a Blueberries Romanoff (blueberries with liqueur and mint, in whipped cream) and a Strawberry Sorbet. By the time we got around to buying them, the whole farmer’s market was out of blueberries, so we went with blackberries instead, and threw in some macerated slices of leftover strawberries too. Instead of Grand Marnier, I substituted reduced orange juice, which I also used as one of two sauces laid down on the plate: the other was a strawberry sauce made by cooking down the leftover sorbet base. I plated it with some miniature vanilla Bundt cakes I found at Trader Joe’s, and a sprinking of powdered sugar. The sorbet came out very nicely, and I got to use my ice cream machine! Everybody else’s dishes came out delicious too, and there was plenty of wine… it was a great party.

After that, for the next day and a half, I did almost nothing except clean up the house. Sweetie helped out enormously there, too, which was wonderful of her. We even got the family room downstairs clean, a project I’ve only been picking away at for four months now. This was all in preparation for the first MiPL event to be help at my place, an all-holidays pot luck. The concept was that everyone should bring a dish representative of a holiday which takes place during the month they were born. High-concept, right? I tend to have good ideas that don’t work out quite right: in this one’s case, I think nine of the first 10 items brought were pies. A few non-dessert items showed up eventually, and the pies were good, so I don’t think anyone was too unhappy. Me? I made frozen margaritas in the ice-cream maker. Mmmmmm.