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Zoo 7-2-13

I had the pleasure of my grandson’s company for the last two days. The grass was wet yesterday, and the air was cool, which limited our outside activity options. Being of a spontaneous nature, I said, “Gavin, let’s go to the zoo!” He did not seem too thrilled, but his Uncle Jonathon was game, so off we went.

The cheetahs walking up to the glass, the Kodiak bear catching a scent, and the baby elephant throwing a stick and chasing it down amazed the adults. The 3-year-old had a blast climbing decorative rocks, running around the playground, talking to the pictures of orangutans on the coming attraction posters, playing with the faucet sensor in the bathroom and splashing water, eating goldfish crackers, and weaving in and out of the posts holding up the sign at the elephant exhibit. He counted the giraffes and enjoyed them, but other than that, he did not seem too impressed with the actual zoo experience (aka animals).

Our last activity was a ride on the carousel, and he did squeal “weeeee” for about 10 seconds.  After the ride stopped, Gavin stood on the back of his polar bear, but instead of coming into my open arms, he shimmied quickly up the pole. He rather enjoyed that, giggling as I tried to pull him down. The elderly carousel attendant was not too impressed with my grandson’s athletic prowess, but he waited patiently as I finally tickled Gavin loose of the pole. I smiled with a shrug at the crowd waiting to get on the ride as I carried the wriggling 3-year-old to the exit. All in all, it was a fun couple of hours at the zoo, regardless of age or preferred activity!

Yesterday, I stopped by the local pharmacy to pick up something for my son. I was feeling a little hungry, so I looked for some plain, Lay’s potato chips. I only saw a large snack bag, so I asked the clerk if there were any smaller bags of chips, like single serving size.

Mustafa smiled, raised his arms, and with a happy accent said, “This is America! Everything is big!”

I slapped my leg and replied with feigned exasperation, “That is so true, darn it!”

His smile faded, and he gave me a perplexed look. After his initial shock over someone thinking big is not necessarily better, he led me to the chip aisle, and we looked in vain for a small bag of chips. I gave in and got the bigger bag, telling myself I would only eat part of it and save the rest for later. Yeah, right.

I ate part of the bag in the car and consumed the rest in the house after unloading groceries. I felt regret, and I thought I should look at the nutrition info and admonish myself. I guessed the bag contained two servings. Wrong! It contained almost three servings. After doing the math, I realized I had consumed 460 calories worth of chips and almost 30 grams of fat! How many calories have I been consuming eating chips without measuring a serving size (aka: eating out of the bag)? I stood dumbfounded in the kitchen, realizing that chips are not my friend. All this time they were my frenemy, looking all wholesome with that crunchy, salty taste. Potatoes, oil, and salt sound pretty harmless, but they can be devastating to the waistline. I mean, who can really eat just one, or one serving for that matter?

So today, I made a crunchy, sweet, salty wholesome snack. One with good fats, protein, and good nutrients. I have paired this snack (sans banana) with an apple, or other fruit, and almond milk for a lunchtime meal. Nutrition info: 258 calories, 11.5 grams of fat, 6.25 grams of protein, not to mention potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamin E, etc. Wash it down with 1 cup of unsweetened, vanilla almond milk for 35 extra calories and added calcium and vitamin D. Take that, you low nutrient chips!

Crunchy, Sweet, Salty Snack

1 Coco Lite Pop Cake, original

1 1/2  T plain almond butter, unsalted, no added sugar (Whole Foods 365 is the best)

1 T roasted & salted sunflower seed kernels

1/2 ripe banana, thinly sliced

Spread almond butter 0n pop cake. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Place thinly sliced bananas on top. Thinly slicing the banana keeps the banana from over taking the rest of the flavors and lets the crunchy texture stand out.

Note:

Pop cakes

Pop cakes are found at Marsh (bakery) and Whole Foods, although all locations might not carry them. You can also order them online at: http://www.cocofoods.com/  They have the texture and flavor similar to a cake cone ice cream cone, only a little lighter. They are awesome, with only 16 calories and 4 carbs per pop cake! I use them as a crunchy vehicle for poached eggs, hummus, guacamole, and other snacks.

I try to plan my trips around town to save gas. Yesterday, I went to a meeting, got my hair cut on the way home, mowed the grass, and got a massage.

When my massage therapist greeted me, she said, “I like your hair!”

I laughed out loud and said, “Really? Thanks, I just got it cut, it has not been rewashed, and it is wind-blown from cutting grass.”

Ali, I hope you keep cutting hair for a long time! Below is my next morning look, after being washed and slept on.

bed head

The best parts of summer trail running:

  • Cool shade running in the woods
  • No icy spots
  • More hours of sunlight
  • Time off of work to run

The not so great parts of summer trail running:

  • Eating gnats like a whale eats krill
  • Humidity
  • Heat
  • Tree roots (any time of year)

The ugly parts of summer trail running:

  • Ripe coyote kill in middle of trail
  • Sweating like you just took a shower

Snot Balls

I just can’t seem to shake the phlegm from this end of school year cold. I will feel fine, and then I am blowing out, or coughing up, snot balls. Laughing at a commercial, snot ball. Running down the Monon, snot ball. Yelling at the Pacers for a stupid pass, snot ball. I feel much better than last weekend, but I would really like to get rid of these snot balls.

Maiden Voyage

The maiden camping trip with the new travel trailer is now successfully completed. It was a wonderful weekend, other than my rotten head cold (an end of year gift from one of my students). As the breeze blew, so did my nose. It felt good to get things organized in the new living space, but I did not feel like hiking or sitting by the fire, which was a bummer.

The best part was the finale:  I drove the camper from home to the storage facility and backed it into the parking space with only a minor adjustment! My copilot guided me, of course. I was so excited I told Terry I wanted to drive to the campground on our next trip. He expressed his concern, but then relinquished and told me to go for it. I wonder if the cold medicine had any influence over my bold driving and parking skills? I guess I will find out in two weeks!

Another Indianapolis Mini Marathon is now complete. I had a good time; I beat my time from last year. The weather was nice, but there was a strong headwind for the second half of the race. The most excitement actually came before the race.

My husband, Terry, and I left with time to go to our favorite parking spot. The lot is usually half empty. This year, unfortunately, half of the lot is now restricted parking, and they moved the full lot sign across the entrance just as we got there.

Terry said, “Now what?”

“Uh…uh…,” I replied, as I tried to get my bearings.

“Tell me something!” He isn’t native to Indy.

“Uh, turn right, I guess.”

So he turned right.  No parking places were in sight. I told him to circle back around and park on the street curb. He wondered if we could get closer. I understood his concern. We were so far down the street that there were no longer any parking meters, the race started in 20 minutes, and we were still a mile from the start. At this point, we were in danger of not getting to the start line in time to get into our corrals. What is the point in getting seeded if you can not get in your corral?

I looked around for my race bib; I did not see it.

“I can’t race today,” I said, dejected.

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t have my race bib,” I said, my head down.

“You didn’t notice it sliding across the dash with all the turns we made?”

I looked up, and there it was! Relief!

We got out and started down the street. The man who parked in front of our car joined us. He was Michael from Illinois, middle-aged, and he was very excited to be at the Mini. He talked a blue streak and was literally hopping around us. A woman, mid twenties, joined us a few feet later. At the cross street we had to walk in the bicycle lane due to construction that closed the sidewalk. A car passed us, stopped at the next intersection 20 yards ahead of us, and the car door opened. A woman leaned out and lost her breakfast, or at least the energy drink she had for breakfast.

“Did she just throw up?” asked our young companion, with a look of shock on her face. We all confirmed that she had indeed tossed her cookies. “Don’t look at it!” she commanded, as she turned her head. We gingerly stepped around the wet spot as we passed.

We were getting a little nervous about making it to the start, so Michael, Terry, and I started to jog as a warm-up. I started to walk, again. I mean, I was already running 13.1; I didn’t want to overdo it. Michael started jumping around.

“Come on, Dawn. Keep going. We want to make it the start. You can do it. It’s just a warm-up,” he encouraged.

“You have a lot of energy,” I calmly grinned. So, I started jogging, again. The National Anthem started to play; we jogged a little faster. At the corral, they dropped the flags separating the corrals, and the bodies started pressing together. I quickly hopped the corral gate. Well, maybe not quickly, but I did climb over it in time to get a spot. Later, my husband would tell me how Michael was high-fiving and talking to everyone in their corral. That image still brings a smile to face.

So, we just made it to our corrals. At about mile 9, I was wishing I could have that warm-up mile back, but it was worth it for the memories it created. Now, every time I hear the name Michael, I will think of the that energetic runner who took the tension off of a frustrating start to the Mini.