Friday, February 26, 2010
I am not a figure skating fan. My only appreciation for it, was getting a break from watching tv over the last two weeks. Whew, figure skating, I can turn it off. But, somehow I got caught up in the women's stories this time. Especially the Canadian, Joannie Rochette. How tragic, I thought, hearing her mother died suddenly, in Vancouver, coming to see her daughter's life long dream. Seeing Joannie on the ice, composing herself, blocking everything else out, and just getting it done, was so humbling. I am in awe. And last night, you could say she had a couple more days to recover, or a couple more days for reality to set in. Either way, she absolutely astounded me. She focused her mind and body, and won a bronze medal. How courageous. How inspiring. Driven. I can't find words for it. I feel it in the pit of my stomach. Proud to be a fellow human, motivated to do more. Just, wow.
Okay, on another plane, is Kim Yu-na. She is 19! She is, by all accounts, the most well known celebrity in South Korea. For figure skating. Here is a woman who feels the weight of her entire country's expectations to be the champion. It has to be gold. Nothing less will suffice. Holy smoke!! The pressure. I compare that to my own goals and aspirations. I like competing, but squirm with the pressure of other's expectations. Kim has the eyes of everyone in her entire country staring at her, expecting perfection. And she gets it done. And while getting it done, breaks records for the most points ever scored in a skating competition, by a huge margin. Wow. Move on, Tim. Just get it done.
I am also impressed with the 'get back in there' attitude. Like the ski racers- if they miss their line, don't panic. Don't go conservative. Don't get flustered. The same for the skaters. When they miss
a jump, get up, and continue. Live in the moment. Don't look back. I watched it in their finishes. You could see their faces go from disappointment to smiles. I know it's for the judges, but it gets them to move on too. I like it!
The picture is from our trip to Lake Tahoe during the Winter Olympics. We skied at Squaw Valley, who was celebrating 50 years since the Olympics were there. It's an awesome mountain, and really awesome to imagine the world's attention right where we were standing...
Monday, February 22, 2010
The basis for this recipe is from Epicurious. We had a bunch of asparagus leftover from our trip, and I was thinking soup, so here's what we came up with. Epicurious says 5 pounds of asparagus, of which I think I had about half that, so I kind of halved the recipe.
2 bunches of asparagus chopped into 2 inchers
2 leeks chopped (just the good parts)
2-3 Tbsp Olive oil
5 C vegetable stock (I used Trader's, do NOT use hearty)
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
4 tsp finely grated lemon peel (I used Meyer lemons from my tree)
1 Tbsp fresh tarragon finely chopped (I didn't use this, only because I didn't have any)
1 garlic clove, minced (I didn't use this, because I didn't want to)
Heat oven to 350 deg F. (Don't use 425, like Epicurious says)
Mix the asparagus, leeks and oil in a bowl. Salt and pepper and put on 2 cookie sheets. We have
the high-edge kind, which was handy for this recipe. Roast in oven until lightly browned. About 45 mins. Stir occasionally, as needed, about twice is what I did.
Once it's cooked, load one cookie sheet worth in the blender, and half the broth. Blend until smooth.
Poor into large soup pan. Repeat with remaining cooked vegetables. Warm soup. Add more stock if you like it thinner. I used about 5 C total. You could maybe get away with a quart box of stock.
The remaining ingredients make the garnish, called Gremolata, which is a classic Italian garnish, and it adds a really nice flavor. Yes, add the tarragon. I wish I had some. Just finely chop the Italian parsley, minced garlic, tarragon, and grated lemon peel together, and liberally garnish on top of the reheated soup. Maybe next time I will add the garlic too.
The soup was good, and super easy to make. Yes, turn down the heat. I used 425 and it went way too fast, and a little too brown on the leeks. I think it would have been sweeter, at a lower temp. The garnish is awesome. I need to get the tarragon next time. Picture to follow.
Yes, you can double this one. I want to make it again at this size to perfect it, first. Every now and then, it had a tiny-too-bitter flavor. I think it could have been roasted too dark, and possibly the asparagas itself, even though we broke off the woody part, before cooking. Maybe just a little more salt would have helped too.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
When I first got to the pool, I ran into an old friend. It was great to see him, and then I found out he just lost his job. "Let's have coffee, okay?" Not even a minute later, I see another friend, much younger, I hadn't seen for a while, Kent.
Whenever I see him, he reminds me of when he pushed me to my ultimate capacity and beyond. He just gives me energy. I talked him into swimming instead of the weight room. He seemed really hesitant, and most of the work out, he was hanging on the wall. I thought about what he does for me, and after seeing him hanging, I shouted, GO! He was still on the wall. After a couple more laps I said, come on, you're in, now just go back and forth!! He did swim a few laps. He's fighting cancer, and doesn't have the strength he had, when he played water polo. He said it's been hard lately. I think it's the first I have heard him say it's hard.
As I was leaving, I didn't realize all that was going on behind the scenes in my mind, and there was Bob. My longest running swim buddy. He missed the workout, and was just showing up. He said he was visiting his mom. He told me before, she was sleeping a lot. Listening to him, it finally dawned on me. She's 92. She's not interested in eating. She doesn't like to get up. She can't really hold a conversation. He said the nurse told him, there's not much more we can do.
I could see Bob's eyes welling up, which shocked me. See, Rob is John Wayne*. Same size. Same personality. Same age. Solid, stable, always sees things in perspective. Always positive. *Okay, with one exception - Bob loves to talk. Almost as much as me. That said, somehow I didn't know what to say.
Mike, my coach, knows everyone. The friendliest guy on the planet, says hi, and doesn't foist himself on you. Knows everyone's name, and their stories. He has doubled the size of our team, in his quiet attractive way. I used to think I wanted a coach who told me exactly where I could improve, what I was doing wrong, and how I could get better. I love Mike, but never really totally appreciated Mike's coaching style. His tips for me, are the same as for everyone else.
Get in, go back and forth.
I can add, as long I you can. It's important for me, and as much as I need others, they need me.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
IMG_0875, originally uploaded by timmerbrew.
Below is the view off to the right, you can see Bolinas lagoon, and some of the far end of Stinson beach before it turns west, and into Bolinas.
This was an awesome weekend back in June. Gary and I rode from Fairfax, over Mt Tam, to Stinson. It's a heck of a climb to this point, and then, it's such an awesome view, down to the ocean, and a steep decent down Willow Camp into Stinson. June 26th ride.Below, is the view from the top. Crazy steep on the way into the beach. Such a reward, after the climb up.
I went out with some new friends this ride. I met Steve a couple weeks earlier on another ride. And just met Warren this ride. It was a good riding with Steve, so when he sent out an email getting this ride together, I was interested.
It's been raining pretty good for a bunch of days before, and the forecast is rain for the whole weekend. I call the guys I knew, who might be going, and every one of them has bailed. Too rainy, too wet, whatever. So, I call Steve, and after some initial jib jab, he says, I am going, rain or shine. That's what I needed to hear.
I drive up from the peninsula, across the Golden Gate bridge, to Marin, a good hour drive, so I can't do the, well, let's see how the weather is. It's just a mist at my house, which in general, is better weather here than there, but so be it. Load up the bike, and off I go. No sooner do i get on the freeway, and it's coming like down cats and dogs... and I start wondering if I have enough layers...hahahaaa.
It's an area I haven't ridden before, and finally arrive out at the designated spot, and there's Steve, already on his bike, out at the edge of the neighborhood...dang, ready to go! Let's get a roll on...! I park, start throwing on my gear, and realize...wait. These are my..., oh shitakes. These are my ROAD BIKE shoes!! They will NOT WORK on my bike!!! Panic. Looking around. Calmly I tell Steve, hey, tiny issue here... So, Steve, as patient as can be, says, hmm, I might have something in my garage...so, we head over to his house, a couple blocks, the drizzle is coming down pretty good....and he finds some old, shall I say, throw-away peddles? The kind that come with the bike, and come off as soon as you get some? No straps, no nothing, just big flat pads. I am thinking...hmmm dang....okay, let's do it. So, we take mine off, put the new ones on, with some fuss, then, I try using my road shoes....no can do....sliding like ice skates on them. I drove up in my Teva sandles, so, I'm thinking, yes, I am not sitting in the car the whole way home without a ride...so, pop on what seems like my house slippers, and away we ride!
You know, sometimes you just gotta go do it, or, as Nike says, without the jib jab, just do it. There's always a multitude of reasons why not. I know, I have used most of them before. Yes, I had to get up early. Yes, I had to find all my gear. Yes, I had a bit of a drive, and it was raining. I know. I know. So, the whole ride was FANTASTIC!! Geez, I loved every bit of it!! Meeting Steve, Warren, Steve's wife, seeing all his seeing eye dogs at his house, riding out through his neighborhood, thinking, wow, what an awesome place to live. Immediately out of the 'hood, we are in some awesome two lane, nearly empty road heading out into Marin hills.
So, first thing we do is jump off our bikes. There's a 12-inch-high board we need to climb over, to get to the trail. Actually, the board seems to be redirecting a torrent of runoff, right over the trail. Here I am in my bedslippers...tip-toeing through the water and mud. My tires immediately sinking beyond the rims...oh yeah...it's gonna be sloppy!! It's raining and drizzling, so we are riding through the ruts from the runoff. A little treacherous here and there, but all in all, really really fun. Pretty steep climb in places, but I am learning how to use my new peddle set-up...feeling a little more comfortable it's all gonna work out... and how could it not?! Nuff said. Another great day.
Jib Jab extreme
If you are still with me, click through the pictures. The last few, you can see how nice the weather got, crossing the Golden Gate and peering over at Alcatraz...I look down, and think, yeah, I swam across that....! I stopped at my sister's, and we went out for lunch. That's where we came across the trees in blossom. On her street. And the cappuccino...dang, isn't that a thing of beauty? And as good to drink as it looked.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
So, we had a huge breakfast, and re-shuffled our packs, and were back on the trail around 11am or so. See? No rush. Total cush. Pure relaxing fun.
So, we head out, north on this little street, crossing over, and back onto the trail, which paralleled the street, about 100 feet from the road or so. Don't worry, I don't think we saw a car on it the whole time. It's quiet. It's that beachy, coast fog. So, you follow the trail, called Redwood, to Muir Woods. Amazing. We have been hiking an hour (view map), and have seen zero people.
We get to Muir Woods, and it's multitudes of tour busses, people, wheel chairs, babies, kids, picnics, bikers, and on and on and on. It's busy. Still, it's very cool to see. I am sure we could have walked around, but we went in. Checked out the visitors center. Walked the plank walkway, to the end. It's all of about 1/4 mile. At the furthest end, is a trail. Take it.
Instantly, we were all alone again!! It's just mind boggling, how everyone sticks to the assigned area. So, take it for a mile or so, then turn onto "Lost" trail. It gets a little steep, but not for long. You are deep in the woods. Redwoods and bay trees. It's so beautiful, serene, energizing. So, after a little bit, you pick up the trail just below Panoramic Highway.
Mountain Home Inn is historical, and you'll see why when you are there. It's since been updated, and modernized. It still has charm, so don't worry.
Alright, another hike done! It's about 3 o'clock or so. Maybe 3:30. Okay, this place is laid back, so don't expect a doorman, a front lobby, a bartender, a wait person. It's all the same person (or almost). Totally nice guy, very helpful, just busy. He walks us down to our room, and even just that was an experience. He had the door open, and the balcony double doors open, so you walk in, looking out on the bay, over Mill Valley.... just above the redwoods... absolutely awesome!! The room has a wood fireplace, already stacked and prepped with paper under the logs, and matches on the ready. The bathroom has a big jacuzzi tub in it, with a pair of louvered shudders you can open so you can see the view from the tub....SWEEEET!!
The hike from Mountain Home Inn to Stinson has a lot of turns (see map). Having said that, it is pretty straight forward too, but do take a map. It goes, Troop 80, TCC, Stableveldt, to Dipsea. There are probably a few ways through the middle. Troop 80 and Dipsea are the critical ones. Stinson has a few hotels to choose from. We stayed in a family cottage in the patios. Eat at either the Sand Dollar or Park Side. Lately we have been going to the Sand Dollar. It's not expensive, and in general, is good. So, this hike is also about 4 hours, so again, you get in with plenty of time to kick back, have cocktails, enjoy the beach, have dinner and call it a day!
Monday, February 1, 2010
I set out to make this yesterday, and had a couple mishaps along the way. In the end, it turned out to be really tasty, albeit, a day later. I borrowed from a couple recipes mostly, and then I read a couple more that I probably assimilated and went into the plan.
The two main ones were Closet Cooking Blog and Epicurious. Okay, now that I look at it, from the Epicurious Mushroom Soup recipe, the only thing I got was to use sherry, which I didn't even use, I ended up using port. Well, the other thing was, no dairy, which I was really trying to avoid....not for religious or any reason, other than I didn't want it. Closet Cooking has it down. Okay, so his recipe has a cup of cream, but pretty much everything else I liked, and I more or less, I used his instructions.
8 oz of button mushrooms
8 oz of crimini mushrooms
(you can use oyster, and others too. this is what I got, and where I started. I can imagine going more exotic, for example, I ended up using some dried mushroom broth.)
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 red medium to small onions, chopped
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped
1/4 c Port
truffle oil (optional - i will try it next time)
4 c vegetable stock (or 1/2 and 1/2 with mushroom stock)
toasted cheese bread
(slice baguette, drizzle with olive oil, add salt/pepper and grated hard cheese, bake 400 5-6 mins till brown)
So, Closet says, broil/bake the mushrooms. It brings out the flavor. Holy smoke, it does, big time.
This is where I messed up yesterday. He says 30-40 mins at 400 deg F. Today I did 400, but only about 12 minutes. I think I should have went another 5 minutes though. So, let's get started.
1- Clean (not with water, just brush) the mushrooms and slice.
2- Oil the slices, in a bowl, add thyme and salt and pepper to taste.
3- Spread out on abcookie sheet and bake 400 deg F for 15-20 minutes.
4- Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil. Add the thyme and sage in the last minute
5- Add roasted mushrooms to it, add vegetable stock, simmer for 10-20 minutes.
6- I added about a cup or so of very cold water, before putting half the mix in the blender
7- Blend, and serve with a few sprigs of thyme, which really tasted so good on top.
8- serve with toasted cheese bread
9- I garnished with thyme sprigs, which actually tasted really good on top. I bet some radish sprouts would be good too...just thinking...anyways, Moira and Kirsty really loved it, and I did too. I think next time, I could make this in about 45 minutes. And, you know what? Vegetarian is so frigging easy to clean up, and by the way, keeps so much better too. Next time, double this bad boy.
Two (or 3) future topics:
- Marin Headlands to Stinson 3 day hike - Valentine's day is coming, and this is the most romantic hike in the world. I'll fill you in on details soon.
- Mt Tam birthday bike ride, shell fest, and all around great time.
- possible additional, Portland's Bailey's Tap Room...
A couple other house cleaning items. How do you make a table of contents? Should I add the related items gadget? how do you put nice photo highlights on the navigation?
Done, Done and Done.
Okay, well, not the related gadgets thing and the photo highlights on the side...another day...
It's all about setting tangible goals, and measuring results. In our case; count your meters. We know how we are doing along the way (we write our daily results on the wall). We think about it, notice it, talk about it, and somehow, there is this motivation to push the number up. How far can we go? It's funny. Some folks look forward to meter mania all year, and then swim 10,000 meters a day! For reference, we normally do about 2400 - 2700 meters a day, which takes about an hour. 10,000 meters would take a good 3, realistically 3.5 hours in the pool.
Some people have to do more than most. Some have to have a 'respectable' number of meters, but pretty much everybody has to do more than they would any other month in the year. Just for fun, I asked a few folks what their goals were, and why they do it. Hey, I am going to put my numbers up, for everyone to see! Or, I did so and so last year. This year I am doing (put in the number) more. The more was typically a lot, too!! 50%, double, even triple last year!
So what? For me, the moral of the story is: Be careful what you measure. You will most likely do more, do better, or improve, whichever way you want the number to go.
Here's some of my swimming examples where I was measured: Swimming from Alcatraz to San Francisco. Go. You get a medal for it. Or, let's swim 5000 meters on Thanksgiving, 7500 meters on Christmas and 10,000 meters on New Years! You get a sweatshirt for it! Here's a cool picture of Aquatic Park looking back at Alcatraz, and seeing some swimmers out there. One more: Trans-Tahoe relay - 5 man teams, swim across Lake Tahoe (12 miles). Go.
Anyways, I am thinking about what else to measure.