Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

Bumper sticker sighting in Duluth on December 23: a wise word for the arrogant.

Powerful waves on the shore of Lake Superior (Canal Park) in the stiff east wind that blew in the blizzard snow, water frozen on the rocks. December 23
(As always, you may click on pictures to enlarge.)

Back home in the Twin Cities, morning of December 24th. Yes! we have snow.

This morning we ran in the Stillwater bubble.

View from the front row (reserved for those who want to see the sign language interpreter) at St. Andrew's, 4pm, Christmas Eve.

Real live people, including the cute baby.

Blessings of the season to All!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Gluten Free Christmas

Gluten-free choices take a lot of the regrettable eating out of the holidays. See the previous post for use of organic teff flour for baking. Although whole grain, it is ground fine. We have used it for banana bread and ginger cookies... so far.

Whenever possible, choosing whole fresh fruit or dried fruit instead of sugar, and nuts (without oil added), avocado, or organic coconut oil or olive oil over other fat is a nice goal.

Moving toward wholesome eating is a journey. We are somewhere on the continuum.

On Saturday, December 5, in New Orleans, Sweet Pea and I walked a couple of miles on Magazine Street to Whole Foods Grocery, housed in the old Arabella Station building. Arabella Station, a historic site, was built in 1893, and later, in the mid-twentieth century, used as a streetcar barn.

This sounds like a commercial, but we have enjoyed access to organic produce at Whole Foods in nearly every city where we have run a marathon. We also try to explore farmers' markets and co-op markets.

After lunch in the deli there, we shopped for a few groceries which we packed in the 2 bags we brought. We walked the few blocks to St. Charles and caught the trolley.

Cooking our breakfast eggs in the hotel room worked out quite well, and helped keep expenses down. Organic apples and grapes supplemented meals eaten out. Bag on the left has the symbol for the International Myeloma Foundation.

Today's fitness report: worked out some at home

Sunday, December 20, 2009

December Running

This morning Sweet Pea and I each ran about 4 miles... indoors!!

Annual cookie baking experiments in the afternoon.
Rolled ginger cookies made with gluten-free whole grain teff flour (NO refined potato starch, tapioca starch or corn starch).

Peppernuts can be made with teff flour, too, but these are a little short of flour.

Calypso wreaths ... in honor of our New Orleans trip.
An experiment: Spritz recipe, flavored with lime candy flavoring and organic coconut oil.
No gluten (wheat) flour, but sweet rice flour for about 3/4 of the flour and whole grain brown rice flour for that last 1/4 of the flour.
Butter for a third of the shortening and solid virgin organic coconut oil for 2/3 of the shortening. Well, the dough jammed up in the cookie press, so we just formed them by hand.

Not claiming any of the above is real food... but a good experiment in gluten-free baking.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Orleans Part 3

Be sure to see the MyelomaHope posts about the reason for our trip to New Orleans.

Sweet Pea and I did 14 miles of walking in 3 days. Took this picture on Magazine Street, I think, just west of the heart of New Orleans. We could see evidence of flood damage many places.. but also, as in this picture, rebuilding and recovery.

We 2 took a tour that was listed as a tour of the Katrina damage, but turned out to also be a good tour of the whole city in 3 hours (riding in a van, not walking!)

The weather turned rainy, ironically, just when we were in the lower 9th ward, most damaged by the forceful flooding. Many vacant lots that once had houses, bought by the federal government and not rebuilt (according to our tour driver).

Bright colored Habitat for Humanity houses to encourage musicians to return to the city.

Monument to commemorate the first anniversary of Katrina, blue posts indicate flood water levels in various locations. The partial wall signifies rebuilding. There are chairs... on a family's front porch... and a row of chairs on the other side, representing community. There is more interpretation of this monument on the internet.

The tour included an extensive investigation of a cemetery, including detailed explanation of the "natural cremation" process.
The gathering of a few jazz musicians for an interment was somehow a more cheerful note!
Tour also included French Quarter, Garden District, City Park, etc.

WORKOUT REPORT: At the community center. Sweet Pea did 4 miles on the track and I did 4 miles on the treadmill.
I think outdoor temps have been as much as 20 degrees below normal for this time of year.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Orleans in 3 Days

Part 2 .... Sweet Pea and Sunshine in New Orleans December 5-6-7
See Myeloma Hope blog for details of the hematologist conference.

Crescent City Farmers' Market at the corner of 700 Magazine Street and Girod
We bought a bag of scrumptious fresh pecans.

On a tray at bedtime: "Sweet Dreams .... A New Orleans Tradition" Pecan pralines

Small package pralines, thrown from a float in the Canal Street parade

Oh yes, and BEADS thrown from the floats ... even Santa was throwing beads. Beads hung by the dozens from the power wires, tree branches, porch railings.

It was nearly dark when we two bravely took the street car on Canal Street out to City Park to see the lights of Celebration in the Oaks. (City Park, recovering from Katrina flooding.)

A festive visit for children, with carnival rides for children
Dinosaurs and alligators were numerous.

A calypso version of "Twas the Night before Christmas" .... "the prancing of eight tiny alligators."

The red shadow in the middle window the the building is a 15 foot tree made of poinsettia plants.
Because we were uncertain about street car stops, we walked about a mile back to Canal Street. It was dark, but oh it felt gloriously warm to these Minnesota visitors.

Back home, we renewed our membership at the community center last Sunday. Spent an hour on the treadmill on Sunday and an hour on the track on Tuesday.
Training for the next half marathon....
My therapist says I have a lot of half marathons left in me... Hmmmmm!

Friday, December 11, 2009

ASH in New Orleans

American Society of Hematology: December 4-8 at the New Orleans Convention Center
Ten thousand hematologists and other medical people attended.

One of eight people who have multiple myeloma, attending the conference, working in the patient advocacy booth of the IMF (International Myeloma Foundation.
See his Myeloma Hope blog for more details.

Proposed patients' rights (Click on picture for enlargement.)

Besides attending two very lovely receptions at the conference, Sweet Pea and I walked at least 14 miles in New Orleans in 3 1/2 days.
We enjoyed the parade on Canal Street.

And on Magazine Street, we walked all the way out to Whole Foods Market.

Christmas was everywhere, including in the French Quarter.

It was 70 degrees with flowers everywhere, too.

The magnificent Amtrak Empire Builder arriving in St. Paul ahead of schedule.
Seven inches of snow on the ground and temperature 5 degrees when we arrived.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Walking walking walking

OK people, we're walking, we're walking (or so says the White House tour guide?)

Our aim is at least 30 minutes every other day.. or if possible 6 days a week.
We do a little running too, but my knee still complains about that.
I wish I could stretch the very very inside of my knee.
A couple of days in the last week we have done an hour.
And Saturday we did 3 1/2 hours.
We are having a good time.

Sweet Pea brakes for KITTIES.....

Many of your will want to read Myeloma Hope for the reports from Don's trip to the hematology conference (ASH) in New Orleans. (Booth duty for cancer patient advocacy sponsored by International Myeloma Foundation.)