30 April 2011

Chicago to Minneapolis

Caught the 1:15 flight from O'Hare yesterday on United. Normally I pay no attention to the people around me on planes. I don't chit chat and really don't care whether they are going home or leaving home. But every once in a while someone will say something that gets my attention. Such as the rare exchange where the stewardess comes across as normal and the passenger as some sort of annoying fungus....

Stewardess: Would you care for a beverage before we take off?

The human seated next to me: I'll have a White Russian

Stewardess: What is that?

The human: I don't know. Ginger Ale please.

Stewardess: That I can do.

02 April 2011

My running life

On January 1 1998 I ran four miles. I don't recall the run but I imagine it was in our neighborhood in St. Louis. I haven't missed a day since and have run 31,643 miles, an avg of 6.5 miles a day. In 2007 I ran 4015 miles, which still amazes me.

I rarely write about running. But obviously it's a big part of my life. I don't enjoy it as much as I did when I was younger though I still love it very much. I can't remember a day when i've had what i'd call a bad run. It is just harder now. I have pains in my knees that usually subside around mile 3.

The closest I ever came to upsetting my streak was a couple of times when I got to a hotel room around 11pm and immediately headed outside or to a fitness room to run a couple of miles.

Today I ran 12 miles downstairs on the treadmill. It caused me to think about how fortunate I have been to have stayed healthy all these years. I ran while watching Pirates of the Caribbean 3 on DVD. I've been going through all our DVDs this last month. I've watch classics like Yankee Doodle Dandy and Guys & Dolls, along with more forgetable flicks like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and the Lizzie McGuire movie. Some people hate running on a treadmill, i've come to love it. I run in the privacy of a room in our basement. It's me, a treadmill, a tv, the heater, and assorted household items we cannot bear to get rid of, such as a crib, playpen, kiddy cars, and an almost lifesize Barbie. In the room i'm not too fat or too slow and I always have the perfect gait. Barbie looks at me admiringly and I return the favor by cleaning the cobwebs
out of her armpits from time to time.

I don't know how long I'll keep this streak going. I suppose as long as my health permits. It's been good. It's added some order and discipline to my life. I'd like to think I set a good example to my kids, or at least a better example than I would have otherwise. Running is a time for thinking and often for not thinking. Sometimes I pray while I run or think about what I should be praying about, only to forget later. Running is solitary. Moving my body down the road and keeping atuned to the aches and pains and sounds that remind me i am still alive.

Ribs 2011

Today for the first time in quite a while, it feels like Spring here. I uncovered the smoker, checking to make sure no animals had made a home inside during the winter. I'm here alone this weekend and decided to smoke the first ribs of 2011. Ribs are hard for me to get right. Real frustrating. Why I can smoke a pork shoulder to perfection almost every time, but continually spoil ribs is a mystery. Don't know what i'm doing wrong but will keep trying.

The picture is of our house today. One last pile of snow in front of the porch, big enough that I still cannot get all the Christmas lights off the bushes. There is still a few strips of snow in the back and front yard that will likely be gone by morning. Wandering around the yard I find mementos of the fall and winter that have been buried for months. The girl next door's lacrosse stick, a piece off the snowblower handle, used firecrackers from New Years.

After taking Robin and Caroline to the airport early this morning I took our dog, Rocko, for his first walk of the year. We're not bad dog owners, its just that he is so old he can only go to the end of the block and back and most mornings it has been too cold. He was glad to be out but got tired before we passed two houses and we turned around. Aging is taking its toll on our 16 yr old dog. After that and a twelve mile run I went out to Costco to get the ribs. Turkeys crossing the road near my house have an irradescent sheen to their feathers that I have never noticed before, jade, blue, red. Birds are back, including a few of the pesky canada geese that will soon infest our town. Neighbors are cleaning out the garage and draining gas from the snowblowers. We'll have more snow, just not enough to worry about and not enough to need a snowblower.

Back to the ribs... finally, a decent batch. Really good. I think part of my problem has been cooking them too long. This time I used an approach I saw on the Food Channel. Smoke with a dry rub for four hours at 250. I used just a little salt and pepper. Follow by grilling with a vinegar based mop. I grilled for about a half hour, turning about every five minutes. Good hot flame. Work really well. Given my general incompetence in the rib category, i'll probably use this method from now on.