Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Welcome To My House Tour!

 This Christmas, our third in this house, it is actually starting to feel more like a home!  Every Christmas I seem to find one thing, be it baking, finding special gifts, something, that is my favorite part of that year's holidays.  This year, it seems to be decorating my house!  My favorite thing has been to be at home in the evenings, with all my Christmas lights on, and even better if there is Christmas music playing! 
So come on in.  If you were here, I would serve you some sugar free cocoa and healthy cookies when you came to the front door.  And you'd be greeeted by this snowman.
 And some birds of different species.

 Come on in to the entry way...

 This is the "formal" living room, still not entirely furnished, but fun to decorate as my "vintage Christmas" room!  Sporty Spice has set up his Disneyworld monorail set at the bottom of the tree there.
 My chairs I got last summer...now if only I could find a matching setee...sigh.

 Glittery ornaments from Big Lots!
 And ones I made from yard sale goodies!

 Possibly my favorite thing is my light up vintage village.

 Got that whole bowl of vintage beads at a yard sale for four dollars last week.
 And into the dining area...snowmen on the buffet...

 And on into the living room...come on in and sit down for a bit.
 I love this little white feather tree and sure wish I could get a better picture of it.

 The big tree is being circled by a remote control lego train this year.

 And welcome to my kitchen..
 And my bedroom...

 Bedroom tree.
 It's even Christmas on the nightstand.
 I have a fireplace in my bedroom.  How decadent is that?
 A nod to the tacky.
 And finally, what self respecting flock of chickens and a duck wouldn't want lights on their house as well?  The feral kitty house also has lights this year.
Hope  you enjoyed your stay and you are invited for New Year's as well...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

November....and Into December we Go!

I finished the Cal International Marathon last Sunday!  5 hours and 45 seconds, including the 7 minute (I timed it) Porta Potty line at mile 10.  Not a speed record by any means (I did it in just under 4 and a half 3 years ago), but I was really happy just to finish and to know I never walked.  I had gotten a cold earlier in the week that really settled in my lungs by Sunday, so I was on the fence whether I should even go or not, but I really didn't want to miss it.  So I took it slow and enjoyed the new scenery and people and their dogs (so many dogs!) along the way.  It was warmer than 2008 and the horrible winds we'd had last week had died down.  And they had pancakes, beer and tomato soup at the end!

To back up, we had a great Thanksgiving week, with Sporty Spice out of school and The Mister off work.  We went to Arnold and enjoyed a quiet couple of days, did some training (my last long run!) and watched the last 2 Harry Potter Movies.  The only oddity of the weekend was finding this:
under our deck.  No collar, no microchip, and UNfixed!  Her name is now Jane and she is a sweet little thing with a coat as soft as a rabbit.
We came home the Tuesday before Thanksgiving so Lance could get to his chemo treatment on Wednesday.  It's been a tough month and the doctor is changing his drugs, which has made him feel a lot better this week.  Every day with my sweet boy is a gift.

As a follow up, Bobette the last little rescue cat is doing wonderful and she is the "squatiest" little ball of cat with a funny little corkscrew pig tail!  This week I rode through the meadow where I trapped her and there was this mangy looking coyote just sitting out there staring me down.  I SWEAR he was saying, "YOU took my meaty little cat morsel, you b&#@h."

Thanksgiving morning we woke to rain, but undaunted, the Schaefer family set out for our local Turkey Trot!  There was some whining from the small man, but he was all smiles when he finished the 5K and wants to go back next year.

And yes, that is his special Turkey Trot Hat, which came in handy with the weather.

I made the entire Thanksgiving meal from my favorite Clean Eating Magazine, including this healthy Pear Pomegranate Pie:

It was very good.  I also made the Spice Rubbed Turkey, Apple Fig Stuffing, Souffle'd Sweet Potatoes, Cranberry Apple Sauce, and  Roasted Brussel Sprouts.  All healthy and delicious.  LOVE that magazine!

We spent the weekend after putting up our Christmas decorations!  This year we've finally made the big move to a fake tree! 
And I'm already thrilled about it!  Every year, we finally go pick one out, and then it sits in a bucket of water until the Mister can get time to put the lights on, and then we have to find busy mid-week time to decorate it, and it is a constant source of stress for me because it doesn't get done entirely until the week before Christmas and I never get to enjoy it.  NOT this year!  Oh no.  Ten luscious feet of pre-lit goodness was up on Friday morning and completely decorated by Saturday.  This left time to get all the rest of the decorations out and lights up and we've been enjoying them immensely every night!  We even have lights on our chicken coop. 

And in the Christmas spirit, I took 2 classes at one of my favorite shops in Berkeley, Castles in the Air.  SO fun.  In the first one, we made this:

I wish I knew the official name of these things, but it has all these movable parts, so that when you move that tab at the bottom, the guy turns into a one man band.  It took a surprisingly long time to put together.  But my kid thinks it's cool, so that's all that really matters.

I think I enjoyed the second one even more.  We made Victorian Christmas Dioramas:

Each person's was similar, but different, as we could choose the images and embellishments we wanted to use.  Mine features cats a little heavily.  But again, my kid thinks that's hilarious.

I have made a big move this "off" season.  (Drum roll)  I've up and hired myself a professional coach!  I met with him for the first time yesterday.  He's a level 2 coach from Australia and a very nice guy.  Stay tuned.  It's gonna be an interesting 2012!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

OFF-SEASON: Bring It On!

Time to check in on my crazy-monster-training-experiment!  Came up just slightly short of my big  5 100-mile ride goal when I woke up in Arnold yesterday to see THIS.  I had even packed some pretty heavy duty winter cycling clothing, but it was 30 degrees out when I left.  I tried.  I did.  I'm pretty tough.  But I made it 15 miles and my toes hurt so bad I was crying.  So I had to scrap it.  Turned out we had to scrap the whole weekend pretty much when the dog started barfing (he had his chemo treatment 48 hours earlier, and it usually doesn't cause him many problems at all) and we came home early just to be sure we were nearer to the vet.  (He is eating thismorning and seems to have stopped vomitting.)  I made pretty much all the rest of my goals in the swimming and riding and running departments, and am happy to declare it Officially Offseason!  Of course the Cal International Marathon is in four short weeks, so running will not slow down much until then.  It is also time to pay some serious attention to cleaning up my diet!  Yikes, it veered off course after Vineman, what with all the animal fiascos, scheduling and crazy training.  I'm actually excited to have the time to start cooking "cleaner" fall meals and do more prep so that I have food with me and don't have to improvise, which never turns out well for me.

My monster training also took a brief week "down" (to about half hours-wise) as we had a spay/neuter clinic on October 23rd.  It went really really well, and left me with a good feeling for the first time in awihle.  We fixed 79 cats in just under 3 hours surgery time!  And it went safely and smoothly.  We also admitted four cats that turned out to be already fixed, but they received medical attention and one big boy got some much needed dental work in addition to a foxtail being removed from his mouth, which I'm sure he appreciated.
Sleepy head waking up after surgery.
Volunteers watching cats in "Recovery", making sure they are waking up after surgery without any problems.

And of course, there was HALLOWEEN last week!  This is Luke Skywalker.  We had a good Halloween, although I feel like I didn't do it justice at all.  I barely got any Halloween decorations up.  We didn't go to any "activities", like in past years.  But Sporty Spice had a good time with his class party and parade and trick or treating with friends.  I'm thinking I'll just hang little Christmas wreaths on the giant spiders I've got out and call it a day.

THIS was my major project of Halloween week!  Meet Bobette (she has no tail).  I happened upon Bobette in one of our East Bay Parks last weekend while doing my long trail run.  Now, this isn't a park you can just drive up to, like a kid park.  No..this one is out in the middle of nowhere, far from any kind of houses, and she was way far from the access road, down near some picnic tables.  I see these abandoned cats often on the trails, which KILLS me, me being me, and usually I can tell they are too feral for me to get near or I'm in a place where there is no way I can schlep a trap in to catch them.  Bobette wouldn't let me closer than about 20 feet, but kept looking at me and meowing.  I knew my fate for the week was sealed.  For the next three days, I drove back and forth, an hour each way, to the closest entry to the meadow where she was, carried traps, up and down a hill about half a mile, and SAT in the meadow waiting to see if she'd get in the trap(s).  Finally, on day 4...I got up and headed out there at dawn.  Set my traps, brought my coffee and a book....figured out which bushes she was hanging out in that day...and about 4 hours later, I caught her!  I did my little victory dance in the middle of the meadow, and drove her straight to the vet to be checked out, spayed, vaccinated and "de-bugged" (she had earmites).  I wasn't really sure how friendly this cat was going to be, or how much socializing I was going to have to do.  But when I went to pick her up from the vet the next day, the technician brought me this purring, headbutting little bundle in her arms! 
She is sweet as sugar and cannot believe the turn her life has taken!  From coyote bait to this!  Full tummy, warm "shnuggy" blanket; she fell asleep the first night home purring.  SO nice to finally have a happy ending to something!

So, with that I declare it OFFseason.  If you need me, I'll be in my scrapbook room!  I've finally started scrapping our Hawaii Ironman trip (from 2 years ago!).

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Little Bit of Training...and A Little Bit of Crafting...

Hello October!!  In a moment of probable insanity, I have decided to wrap up this disappointing triathlon season with a really solid, if not completely demented month of training before the inclement weather sets in.  So, we have:  Swimming!  Masters always goes on hiatus from about November to March, SO, I hereby decree that I shall go to both Tuesday and Tursday workouts all month. 
Next up, Riding!  As planned, I finished the Foxy's Fall Century in Davis yesterday.  One of my favorite rides, it was beatiful this year, no wind!  The Mister and Sporty Spice actually did the 50K on the Trail-a-Bike.  We are pretty impressed with a six year old who can ride over 30 miles.  Must be all that training I've been doing with him, riding that Trail-a-Bike back and forth over the hill to and from school a couple of times a day.  Oh, and that's not all on the riding front.  One century-great!  Five--even better!  How about one a weekend (the other four self-supported)?  I've already knocked out three.  And how's about a trip to the summit of Mt. Diablo every Tuesday this month?  Bingo.  We have a winner.
And last but not least, Running!  With the Cal International Marathon coming up the first weekend in December, it's time to step that up.  Running at least some five days a week.  Long runs inching up.  Last weekend my long run consisted of running to the start line of the Primo's Half Marathon about a mile into town, ran the race (with amazingly even 11 minute miles) and then shunned, shunned I tell you, the shuttle bus back to the start, and ran in true Forrest Gump fashion, all the way back home!  21.5 miles.
Some might look at this as late season training.  But no!  I see it as EARLY base training for next year!! 
And believe it or not, despite psychotic training, I completed a couple of crafting goals!  I'm participating in the Christmas ABC swap and I finished my 27 cards!!  Doing anything with a deadline these days freaks me out a little, but I did it and they are in the mail.

 I also took my second class at Castles In The Air:  Vintage Crepe Paper Decorations and Garlands.  Not the greatest picture, and I definitely need practice, but it was fun.