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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween in Pictures

October was a great month.  So many things to celebrate.  I'm sad to see October come and go so quickly, but happy that I was able to spend so much of it with all the people (and dogs) I love.

{Enjoying hot cocoa in the Halloween mug at work}

{Going on a roadtrip with my hunnie for pumpkins and produce}

{Running 5.6 miles and hanging with Jack}

{Roasting pumpkin seeds with worcestershire sauce and butter drizzled on top}

{Carving pumpkins with my hunnie while listening to "Monster Mash"}

{Georgia Mae dressed in her "Angsty Teen" costume}

Happy Halloween!
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Another Tale of Two Trips

Whether you're recovering from Frankenstorm or heading out to see Frankenweenie, it's pretty clear that Halloween is almost here.  It is amazing how quickly October has come and gone.  I rang in the month with a trip out to California to see my sister and then a trip to Boulder for work.  Strangely enough, I found myself closing out October just like I'd started it...only in reverse.  Last Wednesday night I was on a plane heading back to Denver International.  This time around, we arrived to experience the first snowfall of the season.  All I have to say is snow is not fun to drive through...in a Mazda rental car. 

None the less, I was like a little kid Thursday morning when I woke up at the hotel--I hopped out the bed and hurried to the window to oogle at the fresh layer of snow on the ground. 

After getting an "A-" on my presentation (my supervisor likes to tease me and say that my work is worth a grade instead of a paycheck), my co-workers and I were headed back to the airport.  I cozied up to a hot chocolate and some Harvard Business Journal articles, and a few hours later I was off to San Jose for the next leg of my trip.   

I was in Bay Area for a ladies weekend with my sis and gal pals.  There was crafting and mimosas...and mud.  Yes, lots of mud.  While some girls only got their feet wet, my gals and I went head first into the slippery, stinky, and very muddy obstacles at the Dirty Girl Mud Race.  We were Team Swamp Goddesses, and let me just say, we certainly lived up to our name. 
--Not pictured here is our lovely, leggy lady: Catherine, who was taking the picture

We had some great laughs...and a few scares on the vertical obstacles (and in the post-race spray down area...don't ask).  These awesome ladies work so hard every day, it was great that we all came together and gave 110% at the race.  By the end of the week I was so exhausted and relaxed all at once.  There really is nothing like spending time with the ones you love to clear your head and rejuvinate you for whatever's next.  What's next for me?  A half-marathon, hosting Thanksgiving, the final 6 weeks of school, a thesis, a thesis defense, and HOPEFULLY a graduation.  As we say here in Arizona, Bear Down.         

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Halloween Decor & Whiskey Glazed Acorn Squash

Fall is finally here in our little desert town.  I've been daydreaming more about pumpkins, and tall boots, and red and yellow leaves (which are nowhere to be seen here).  Last Friday my class was cancelled, opening up my schedule to check out the local discount fabric store.  My browsing led to purchasing (and boy did I get some bargains), and I found myself rushing home to decorate the house for my 2nd favorite holiday, Halloween.  (Only to be trumped by 4th of July).  As a kid we always decorated the front yard for Halloween, but since I didn't have the time to make a cardboard tombstone or a big scarecrow in red flannel and Nike tennis shoes, I resolved to making some ghosties instead.  Some white lace and fishing line and ta-da...Victorian ghosts now haunt the front porch of our little blue house.  I also bought a handful of discount ribbon and black plastic roses, which I weaved through a wreath from the dollar bin at Target.  All my hunnie and I need now is our pumpkins, which will be picking from the pumpkin patch down the road from his work. 

In addition to putting out my Halloween decor, I've been filling the house with lots of Fall smells lately.  Alongside last Sunday's dinner of lemon roasted chicken, I made Whiskey Glazed Acorn Squash and Sweet Potatoes.  The recipe is an adaptation of Guy Fiere's, only I replaced apples with Acorn Squash and made a half batch since it was just me and my hunnie.  This dish was savoury and sweet, but with a little kick from the whiskey and Cayenne pepper.  It was a spunky take on a classic, and I can't wait to pick up some more squash and potatoes to make it again. 

Whiskey Glazed Acorn Squash and Sweet Potatoes
2 Sweet Potatoes
1 Acorn Squash
1/4 cup Agave Syrup
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon All Spice
Pinch teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 tablespoon Whiskey
3 tablespoon butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

Cut acorn squash in half and remove seeds.  Bake, skin-down, along with the sweet potatoes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 35-40 minutes.  After letting cool, peel and slice the squash and potatoes.  In a saute pan melt 2 tablespoons butter, lower the heat to medium, add the agave and spices, and let simmer 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add whiskey and continue to simmer and stir for 5 more minutes.  Lightly butter a casserole dish and arrange the squash and potatoes in layers in the dish.  Drizzle the whiskey sauce over the the squash and potatoes.  Finish by sprinkling brown sugar over top. 
Cover with foil and bake for 30-35 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Pin It

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Tale of Two Trips

Aaak! So much has been going on lately and between it all it's been hard to find time to blog.  I did a bit of travelling over the past week.  First I was off to California last week for my sis's big day...her 1st Triathlon.  Unlike here in the desert, where the triathlons begin with laps in the pool at the university, my sister and her two gal pals (along with like 350 other women) swam in the ocean.  The PACIFIC OCEAN!  I could call her the crazy one, but who am I to talk, Miss Soon-to-be Running 15+ Miles.  Still, all I can think is you gotta be pretty tough (and crazy) to get in that cold water.  The race started in Capitola, and even at 7 am, skies were clear and the ocean was beautiful!     

So basically, I'm the best sister ever.  I'm her Number One fan AND her water girl.

She did the Mermaid Triathlon, which is an all women's race.  They swam all the way out past the pier in shark infested waters.  JUST KIDDING....but not.  A little ways into her swim, my sister stopped and was feeling a bit unsure.  Luckily, little sis was there to coach her on and remind her how awesome she is and how hard she had worked in her training.  I was so proud to see her throw off that swim cap and power through her swim. 

She ran up a hill barefoot, biked like 12 miles down the California coast, and then jogged up MORE hills.  Did I mention she did this hard core race while wearing her genuine pearl earrings?  She's a classy gal, my sister. 

She was all smiles and happy dances at the finish line with our two girl friends Cat & Rachel.  She had an awesome time, crossing the finish line in 2:23:49.  She may have doubted herself at times, but I knew she could do it!  My proud momma even shed a few happy tears. 

It was so great to go to California for a sister weekend.  After the race was done she and I enjoyed some relaxation time, gossip time at the salon, and a few celebratory glasses of Satori wine. I even squeezed in an early 6.75 mile run last Sunday.  That evening I was back in the desert, only to have to pack my bags for an early morning flight Monday to Denver for a 4-day science team review.  There were reviews of not just a few, but ALL the science teams involved in the OSIRIS-REx project.  Presentations included build updates, analysis of preliminary tests, and comparison of OSIRIS-REx to previous asteroid missions and studies.  The review took place at the University of Colorado, Boulder campus.  The city of Boulder is beautiful at this time of year.  I enjoyed seeing the changing leaves and dribbling creeks and even caught a glimpse of a doe in a meadow. 

I got runs in on 3 out of 4 days that I was in Boulder.  It is a very pedestrian friendly town, with bike paths traversing in all directions...even up into the Rocky Mountains.  It was pretty cold on my morning treks.  Next time I'm in Denver (which is in only about 2 weeks) I will probably need my cold-weather running gear.

Boulder is also known for its craft breweries.  I think my hunnie, who was enjoying "man time" back in Arizona, got a chuckle every time I texted him about one of the beers I was trying.  This brew is the Ciel Lumineux, which is apparently French for "Bright Sky".  I thought this was a fitting selection to help celebrate the success of my 4-day OSIRIS-REx review. 

Luck was on my side Thursday, because for the first time in forever my flight left on time! I was so happy to be reunited with my hunnie and Georgia after being gone almost a week. Dorothy had it right when she said "There's no place like home". Pin It