24 November 2009

New decade, new ideas!

I'm listening to Phedippidations, getting motivated to get back into the good habits that help me feel good about my body and its capabilities. I need to rediscover discipline, control and focus. For in these attributes, there is freedom. Freedom to get outside and run where ever I want, freedom to bicycle, freedom to balance on my head, and freedom to eat cake.

Is it a diet? No. I am merely acting upon the last year of wishes and reflections. Last year was spent learning what I am doing that is not helping me to be strong. This is the year of action. This is the year of not eating out 2-3 times a week, of not taking a cookie during the weekly seminar, of eating more delicious fruits and veggies.

Another thing I want to do is to tone up! I used to bicycle 25 minutes 5x/week and run 10-15 miles a week. I walked or bicycled everywhere. That sort of thing was easy for me when I didn't have a car, but it is my choice to walk or bicycle! My goal is to return to being more active, to think first of non-motorized transport (weather permitting). To run my ass off. It helps me to have goals! Being a Virgo really helps in this endeavor because I am, if anything, precise and analytical. Long-distance running really does require long-term vision because it takes so long to build up endurance. It is necessary and prudent to plan races 6-10 months in advance.

It is not here to talk about my deeds, but rather to let my deeds speak volumes. While I hope to use this blog as a way to remind me of these goals, I won't be using it to "keep track" because I have other means for doing so. I hope to have many race reports and new pictures to share!

Happy 2010!

26 October 2009

Leaving Keats

I swear, it's only a scratchy sore throat. I do not get sick.

Back from Louisville, KY. It's amazing how quickly a week passes when I'm having a good time and talking about my work and learning about other people's work. I am exactly where I belong. More details to follow.

One motivation for longevity is to see karma finally bite some people in the ass. Hard. So I run and I run some more. Because one day I'll be older but you'll be old.

I have no desire to write poems anymore. Maybe that's a good sign. Maybe it means I'm no longer in a place where the only thing I could do was retreat inside my sadness and hope that my pen could keep up. One day I wake up and realize it's been 5 years. That was when I last thought I couldn't make it through one more morning. I still don't know how I got through it. But I did, and now I still have my sadness to keep me company but it's tempered with many happy memories. Maybe I'll write a nice long post about it and delete it before publishing it. Kind of Zen huh?

:) LJS

01 October 2009

Vegetative state

Well well well. I learn something new everyday.

For example, I only just realized that today is World Vegetarian Day. Very cool! A day to celebrate vegetarians and encourage folks to enjoy the delicious natural foods that are vegetables. I grew up thinking that vegetables consisted of corn, lettuce, tomatoes and this omnipresent evil brussel sprout. Now, looking back, I can only wonder "What was I thinking"?!??

Vegetables are great! Thanks to my wonderful husband, I've tried (and really liked!) all sorts of new veggies. Artichokes, avocado, radishes, beets, fennel, parsnips, squash, zucchini and even brussel sprouts. All of them so delicious.

So Happy Vegetarian Day for all my favorite herbivores!!! In honor of today, let's dedicate ourselves to trying a new vegetable or fruit each week for the rest of the month. We'll be delightfully surprised!

:) LJS

30 September 2009

A bit rusty

Oh yes, I have a blog!

Because I haven't done this in a looong time, I figured I'd start with random thoughts.

1. Earbuds really are a godsend in the office. I am blasting Wilco in my ears, trying to drown out the droning of some webinar about cell culturing. It's distracting me from my important work (oh wait, so is blogging)

2. I missed my alter ego, I will enjoy blogging again. Even if its short and sweet.

3. Does anyone else feel the urge to dance while listening to their iPOD? Even if it's in public? I do!

4. I'm back on the bike. Watch out!

24 June 2009

Summer Salads

It's been awhile since I've been out to blog. I know that my one follower has been chomping at the beef jerky bit for updates.

Well, my thesis has been written and turned in to my committee members. It is 204 pages of love's labor. The culmination of 10 years' study and soon to be collecting dust at a library near you.

We have a cute herb garden on our balcony. Photos to come soon!

It is H-O-T outside, but I don't let stupid things like heat stroke deter me from enjoying my running or bicycling. I'm recovered, mostly, from an unfortunate attack of tendonitis and can't wait to really start training in July.

The motorcycle is in working condition, which I have come to realize is a relative term for something that's 26 years old. It turns on, it doesn't fall apart during a ride and it's peppy as all get out. What else can one ask for in a bike?

The hot weather means its salad season. Yay for cooking as little as possible! Monday was homemade pizza with lots of veggies. Last night was a greek/orzo pasta salad and tonight I'll be making Dragon's Lemon/Herb potato salad. This weekend may be the inaugural batch of gazpacho. (yum)

Here's my greek/orzo pasta salad:
1/2 bag spinach, chopped
Some black olives, chopped finely
1/4 red onion, chopped finely
Some feta cheese, chopped
1 1/2-2 cups orzo pasta
Olive oil, sea salt, fresh cracked pepper, balsamic vinegar

1. Add the spinach, olives, cheese and onion in a bowl. Mix in some olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
2. Cook the pasta. Drain, let cool.
3. Add the pasta to the other ingredients. Throw in some more olive oil and vinegar for good measure.
4. Toss all the goodness together and enjoy!

Super easy, can be made vegan by substituting hard tofu for feta.

Note bene! Both recipes call for balsamic vinegar. Balsamic vinegar is one of those things that a chef should not skimp on. You don't use too much of it, so it should be packed with deliciousness. Go to a deli or fine foods store and find yourself some good, sweet, syrup-like balsamic. You taste buds will love you for it.

06 May 2009

FSM invades your joint

Funny title huh? If you don't know what FSM is by now, check out the pastafarianism here.

I made what I think is my best slide picture ever. EVER! (seriously, it's awesome!) Check it out below! It's a cross-sectional representation of the cartilage/bone interface. The squiggly lines are collagen, the circles are chondrocytes (aka cartilage cells)

But now that I'm looking at it again, it does look like little FSMs are all over.
{sigh} Maybe one of my committee members will get a kick out of making similar interpretation.


03 May 2009

My very first follower!

I'm so excited! I has a follower! It feels like it's Secret Santa season and I'm all excited. (wait, I already mentioned this)

Welcome to spring everyone! The apple blossoms are in bloom and they are my absolute favorite aroma. During my run, I ran past about 5-6 trees all in a cluster and I stopped to just inhale deeply their luscious, pungent, sharp aroma. In fact, I think that I'm going to bicycle past it on my way home just so I can smell them again. How wonderful!

On the by and by, I slaughtered over 12,000 calories in April. twelve freakin' THOUSAND! Take THAT mischievous remnants of cheesecake. muahahahahaha!!

:) LJS

29 April 2009

Snails Pace

I'm at 78.2 miles this month, with two more runs left. Oh yes. I am getting there, slowly and surely!

Yesterday's run was good. I started off on the hilly part of the 5 mile loop. Why haven't I thought to get rid of the hard part early on when I have more energy? My legs are...sore and tight and unhappy. But bicycling into work today seemed to help a bit.

About this whole Twitter thing. I admit that I've been following Hyperion and Ryan Adams on Twitter. (Hyperion, this is really a compliment to you. You're in the same company as Ryan Adams!) Am I going to Twitter? Uh. No. Probably not, I mean. First of all, it seems crack-a-licious fun to be micro-blogging and I'd be doing it like every two minutes. Which would a) feed my scattered tendencies and b) seriously diminish whatever vestige of productivity I have going on. But it does seem fun.

And, the motorcycles are OUT and working. I am awaiting new handlebars so I can promptly drop the bike and bend a new set. {sigh} REI is having a sale on lightweight camping gear, so I may trek over there and see what they have in preparation for the "Esmonde-White Tour of America" to take place this summer.

OK. Time to finish Chapter 3. Chow!

28 April 2009

A new land distance record?

In order to avoid the wrath of Hyperion's "wit", I decided that I will just write a "bit" a day. Wait. I'm sure I can haiku this sentiment...

Hypey's biting wit
I avoid because I care
Thus I write a bit


Anyhoo. I am loving my outdoor performance gear sunglasses. They are fashionable, lightweight and make me look so darn cute! And, I registered for the Dexter-Ann Arbor half marathon! It will (alas) be my only spring race. But, I do have a budget and I do have summer plans that I must save up for.

This month, so far, I have run 73 miles. This is very close to my record of 78.4 miles in July 2006. I am psyched because I have three more running days left in April and I know that I will make a new record this month. I wasn't even trying to break my distance record. Yay for this new moderate-consistent plan! I am enjoying a longer run mid-week, it makes the Sunday long run feel a bit more within reach.

02 April 2009

On Target

March was a good running month for me! I met my weekly goals for the whole month, 4 days a week and my mileage goals.
My grand total of 62 miles was muchly improved over February.

But, old demons are starting to rear their ugly head. Things like a tight hamstring, tight quads are making me sore. I am hoping that, now I am bicycling to school again, my muscles will start to feel better.

It does look like I will be able to meet my mileage goals. But I fear that my funds are too low to support registering for all of the races I wanted to run in this spring. I need a new pair of OUTDOOR PERFORMANCE GEAR sunglasses, which are a bit pricey. And, I can't have both the sunglasses and four race registrations...I'm too fiscally responsible for that sort of thing.
So...I'm still keeping Cleveland and Dexter-Ann Arbor, the Road Ends is up in the air but the Martian 10K is out.

21 March 2009

That first burst of spring

Warm weather is coming my way, in fits and spurts. The first of the crocus flowers and the daffodils are greeting us and I too feel like I am making my way out of the cold and the haze. If slowly and with trepidation.

My running is going well! The 4x/week program is good and I'm slowing creeping back up the mileage. Now I complain. Whyyyyy? Because it's my blog and I'll whine if I want to...
My right hamstring feels like a rubber band, after being left out in the dead of winter, that is now being stretched to its limit. It feels tight and crackly and I almost screamed in yoga class today getting into a downward-facing dog. That posture used to be one of my favorites, now it is painful!? One harbinger of old age, I understand, is that my body will start to complain and whine and sometimes just break down (a la the "hamstring incident" of 2008).
But, I also know that giving up is also a sign of aging. So, I'll be stretching more often. Spending more time doin' those yoga poses that make my muscles ache.

Momentous moments have occurred, and I feel settled for now. If not slightly overwhelmed because I just (I think) offered to write a grant application ON TOP OF my thesis served with a side plate of post-doc job application. Oh yes, I did just say THESIS.

I'm writing up baby. YEAH!!

:) LJS

12 March 2009

I'm training

"Let's face it, most of us are scoffers. But moments before zero hour, it did not pay to take chances." -Ralphie

It is time to train. It is time to deny, push, and push some more. I have set some hard goals for the spring! Four races in three months, maybe two half-marathons. From April 'til June, I'll be lacing up in the wee hours of the morning and hitting the road in a test of my will and my physical self. The long runs are getting longer.

Some quick changes here in the Den: I changed the "photos" links to all of the races I plan to run. And I'll be posting more about my training, mostly to keep up my energy. I need all the help I can give myself...so I can beat myself. Existential huh?

So this year, I have made peace with my 4 runs/week training schedule. I just can't push myself to do 5. So, I am trying a variation on the moderate-consistent plan (see Episode 76) in which I have less days to run, but I run longer during those runs. I think it'll be good.

:) LJS

11 February 2009

A new series

I've heard many stupid things relating to the economy lately. Things like bonuses, posh retreats and what-haves for bankers bailed out by our previous administration. Kudos to Obama for putting the smackdown on bonuses, BTW.

So I'm starting a new series called "Stop Whining". It's a populist-style rant for all the well-heeled people who think that these economic times mean things like buying a $2000 dress instead of a $5000 dress, less vacationing in Aspen, no private jets and driving themselves around. Basically, people who don't know what it feels like to be on the cusp of losing everything.

Ironically, I've heard the MOST bitching from these sorts of people. Mostly in the New York Times. Both entertaining and infuriating.

Segment 1: Gee, how can I possibly live on 500k a year? And, the Consumerist responds.

09 February 2009

Scientific Malaise

For some reason, I'm feeling really rotten today. To paraphrase Jimmy Carter, a feeling of malaise has washed over me.

Instead of sleeping it off, genius me is here at work instead because I want to go for a run later this afternoon. And I'd feel bad if I did stay at home and felt well enough to go out for a run. So I figured I'd suffer for the cause and at least be a warm body. A warm body that wants to pass out over my laptop and take a nice long snooze.

I'm taking this opportunity to catch up on reading journal articles. I have about 20 journals that I like to cruise through. On rare occasions, I find very good articles. Most of them time, I'm neither impressed or disappointed. Then, I find articles that makes me want to go kick some butt.

Take this one for example:
"Application of multi-factorial design of experiments to successfully optimize immunoassays for robust measurements of therapeutic proteins"

So DOE is a fancy way of saying "planning our experiments beforehand so we know we'll get good results". Standard fare, IMHO. So why do they get to publish THAT? It'll be practical,sure. But it does not advance scientific knowledge when someone says "I did the scientific method". I saw alot of presentations like this at Photonics West-stuff that's either 20 years old or presented LAST year at the same conference (same slides, almost same order=new presentation! Who knew?)Pretty disappointing, actually.

Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

22 January 2009

Vet, an old pro

I hope that someone reminds me to pay my taxes and properly vet staff members before I run for Senate.


21 January 2009

Inaugural mishaps

What a fantastic moment-yesterday-when I had both President Obama and Chief Justice Roberts in the same frame of my computer monitor. My geek-crush-o-meter was through the roof! I noted that Roberts did not wear an overcoat. Take THAT Chuck Norris! Chief Justice Roberts is so tough that he looks at frostbite in the eye and says "Bite me".

Unfortunately, he wasn't so suave during the oath adminstration. But then again, neither was Obama.

For this very human moment, and the fact that it now meant we're no longer under the thumb of Bush and his evil henchmen, it was my favorite moment of the inauguration.

Hey...that's a good name for a rock band "Bush and His Evil Henchmen". Too soon?

16 January 2009

It's all mental

It would seem that I am on track to meet this week's food and fitness goals, provided I don't get lazy on Saturday. Well, except for having two extra coffee drinks this week. But hey! It's very cold outside and I'm probably needing those extra calories just to survive.

I am always impressed at how good music can improve my mental state, especially during my runs. Last night, I breezed through two miles at a nice pace. I was listening to some of my favorite running tunes from Moby, Radiohead and Jane's Addiction. I felt like Deena Kastor, the American marathon record holder (at 5:19 minute-miles!):

How I looked in reality?

15 January 2009

Idea for recipe!

I owe Hyperion some home-baked goodness and I have been thinking that I'd send him something sweet and unusual. I have a neat idea and I need feedback please! First, some background.

1) This morning I read an article about the latest food craze-salted caramel. Apparently, even Starbucks has a salted caramel hot chocolate. Mostly, these salted caramels are served with chocolate or covered with chocolate.

2) Next item! Another recent trend is the spicy chocolate. Chocolate kicked up a notch (sorry, had to use that) with the addition of some smoky ancho chili flavoring, cinnamon or cayenne.

I think that a spicy chocolate coated salted caramel would be really yummy and adventurous. The details, I am still working out. But I think that either a spicy chocolate brownie with salted caramel topping (a new twist on the turtle brownie) or a chocolate-coated caramel OR a spicy chocolate truffle with bits of the caramel inside the truffle. What do you think?

:) LJS

14 January 2009

Recipe: Spinach salad

Lorraine is a wonderful, creative chef and one of my main culinary inspirations. (along with

This salad recipe is adapted from her "Popeye salad". Fennel is in season now and a wonderful vegetable!

4 cups fresh, clean spinach
One bulb fennel, sliced thinly
1/4 small red onion, sliced thinly
1-2 oranges, peeled, and sliced
Some mint leaves (optional)

Optional step: The night before you prepare the salad, slice fennel bulb and store in fridge with some water and mint leaves.

Prepare your salad by adding all of the ingredients. Try adding some mint leaves to the salad too! Dress the salad with olive oil, freshly cracked pepper and sea salt and some balsamic vinegar.

:) LJS

PS: I highly recommend "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan

PPS: Diplomacy through wine? I love it!

Updated 1/17/09 with photos!

12 January 2009

More tunes!

Because I mostly refuse to buy into the whole entertainment-industrial complex, I have to wait until new music comes to the local library before I can listen to the bands I really like.

Just borrowed from the library is "Narrow Stairs" by Death Cab for Cutie and "Michigan" from Sufjan Stevens. I am enjoying very much!

10 January 2009

Recipe: Broiled Grapefruit

Hurray for citrus season! I love winter because fresh oranges are available for salads, limes for mojitos, and grapefruit for breakfast. If you are bored with cold grapefruit in the mornings, try this delicious variation.
NB: Grapefruit should be at room temperature to ensure even baking.

1 fresh pink grapefruit
brown sugar

1. Set oven to 350C
2. Cut grapefruit in half, remove seeds and section
3. Spread an even, thin, layer of brown sugar over the top. Use the back of a spoon to squeeze the sugar into the fruit. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
4. Bake at 350 for 4-5 minutes
5. Turn the oven up to broil and broil 3-4 minutes, or until the top is browned.
6. Remove from oven and enjoy!

A mint garnish is a delightful addition.

07 January 2009

Oh the places we'll go!

First and foremost, I'd like to encourage everyone to read "American Gods" by Neil Gaimon. It's an interesting treatise on how certain places resonate strongly with a person, or a people. For example, why is Wall Drug so darn popular? I had thought that this idea of resonate places is expressed through music, so I did a little experiment with my meager iTUNES library. Check out all the good places!
Leave in the comments your iTUNES places and I'll summarize them next week.
Travel well, :) LJS

Amsterdam Coldplay
Angel Of Harlem U2
Avalon Roxy Music
Back In The U.S.S.R. The Beatles
Belleville Jungle Ben Charest
Breakfast In America Supertramp
Chicago Sufjan Stevens
Concerning The UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois Sufjan Stevens
Dear Chicago Ryan Adams
Dracula From Houston Butthole Surfers
El Salvador Athlete
Galapogos Smashing Pumpkins
(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66 Nat King Cole
Going To California Led Zeppelin
Gone Hollywood Supertramp
India Roxy Music
Jacksonville Sufjan Stevens
La Llorona DeVotchKa
Last Boat To America David Gray
Laughing River Greg Brown
Marching Bands Of Manhattan Death Cab For Cutie
Memphis Ryan Adams
Mercy Street Peter Gabriel
Mexicali Blues Grateful Dead
Montego Bay Spleen St. Germain
My Blue Manhattan Ryan Adams
N.Y. Doves
New Amsterdam Travis
New York, New York
Ryan Adams
Off Broadway Ryan Adams
Oh My Sweet Carolina Ryan Adams
The Only Living Boy In New York Simon & Garfunkel
Portland Oregon Loretta Lynn/Jack White
Radio Free Europe
Savoy Truffle The Beatles
Streets Of Philadelphia Bruce Springsteen
Texarkana R.E.M.
Theme From New York, New York Frank Sinatra
Via Chicago Wilco
Viva Las Vegas Elvis Presley
The White Cliffs Of Dover The Righteous Brothers

2009 Spring goals

I was feeling quite ambitious a couple of posts ago about my spring running schedule. Then I remembered what got me into so much trouble and pain last year-ambition. So I decided to modify my goals. They're still challenging (4 races in 3 months), but not over the top. It's more important to be healthy and I want to give my left leg a chance to get better. But, if I had wanted to run the Martian half, I would need to start increasing mileage at the end of January and I don't think that it's ready quite yet. January will be booring...slogging through being consistent.
The first two weeks will be no more than 3 miles, 5x/week. The last two weeks, I'll increase to 3 miles, 5x/week.

Here is my modified Spring schedule.

April 7th: A 10K Meteor race in the Martian series of races
April 25th: Road ends 5 mile trail race
May 17th: A half-marathon in Cleveland
June 1st: Dexter-Ann Arbor 10K

04 January 2009

Medicinally Modified

I'm waiting for the Sudafed to kick in. Ever since I've been afflicted with the Toddler Germ of Doom, my sinuses have been wrecking havoc on my tender little head. But I hate taking medicine. Hence the conundrum of waiting way too long to take Sudafed and now suffering until my nose is clear and the pill knocks me out. Hopefully soon.

Speaking of 'hopefully soon'-new running shoes are supposed to be here this very week. I am getting a pair of Mizuno Wave Alchemy shoes. The shoes just look bad ass, I love the green! I figure that my current shoes, while not yet quite at the point of completely falling apart, are a source of my chronic weirdo-knee problem. So...new shoes. And, yes! This does mean a contest for best shoe name. I'm thinking of invoking some of the Goonies for this one.

Tomorrow marks the first working day of 2009 and I am...woefully unprepared for it. Heck, I'm not even getting a good night's sleep. During holidays, I tend to get nocturnal...going to bed at 1 or even 2 am. So it's tough to get out of that habit, mostly because it's probablly my natural schedule.

And, tomorrow begins my foray into the Shrinking Piggies. My goal is to lose 10 pounds, but that is really beside the point. I want to critically examine my eating and exercise choices and see what is not healthy and what I can do to making things more healthy and more fun. I did have fun during the holidays though-making cheesecakes, candy and cookies. But I didn't really eat too much of that-it was nice to have it in the house as a treat.

Arrrrgh! :) LJS