Friday, December 31, 2010

Peace Out 2010

Run: 7 mi/1:06:45

Today I ran 7 miles in 34 degree weather, in my shorts, alongside a backcountry highway with speeds of 50mph. I don't really recommend it. I realized about half a mile in that I couldn't feel my toes. I think I may have to wear two pairs of socks tomorrow.  But hey - after you can't feel your legs anymore, they don't hurt as much.

On Wednesday we drove from Southern Oregon to Portland.
 Not bad for shots taken from inside a moving car, eh?

Spent time with best friends. Watched my friend throw together a seriously delicious split pea soup. Took personality test. Read the results to myself and cringed at how accurate it was. Rented movie. Had warm fuzzies. Spent time with Grams.

My grandma doesn't have any pictures on her fridge, usually. Just one, and it always makes me smile that she keeps it on her fridge.
And I'm fairly certain that my grandma made me that dress.

Last night my best friends and I got together for pizza. And then brownies afterward. Because that's how we do.

There are no pictures of the brownies. We were too busy eating them, I guess. 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top Gun

On Tuesday morning my sister-in-law and I drove to the base to use the gym. I had recently mentioned to my brother that I had never been to his work and I'd like to sit in a jet. He politely declined my request, as apparently there's some danger in letting a civilian sit in an F-15 cockpit. I'm not sure what danger that could be. I wouldn't push any buttons, geesh guys. So even though I wasn't allowed to sit inside the jet, we stopped by his hangar to see where he works.

As we arrived on base, my SIL handed me the phone and told me to dial such and such a number to tell Joel we had arrived. She was in the middle of rambling about something else when a male voiced answered the phone. "We're here!!!" I exclaimed, and the voice responded, "What?" "I said we're here, we're at the base." "Uh... who is this?" I then realized that in my over-excited state I had ignored the fact that this did not sound like my brother. "Um, this is Meghan" and finally my sister in law told me to ask for my brother as this was the department phone, not a personal line. Oh, right, guys.

My brother showed us around the hangar - pointing out jets, filling me in on his job, explaining procedures. And then he said "This is my office", as he opened a door. I expected a small office. Instead, we walked into a room full of people, and my brother politely pointed out the guy who had answered the phone. "ohhh... you're not my brother" was the only thing I could think to say.

We saw the runway, went back into the hangar where I stared into a very dark engine and then climbed up the ladder to look at a cockpit (I did not get in). And the smartest thing I could think to say was "it's like Top Gun."

And there you have it. My brother's pretty cool - have I ever mentioned that? We just stayed in his warm and cozy house, which he took from an old, decrepit, miniscule house, to an open, light, and airy house. He did 95% of the work himself, after work, on the weekends, and on vacation time. He's pretty amazing. Plus, he introduced me to rock 'n' roll, which is also one of his major life accomplishments. Hats off to Big Bro! (I love you!)

And there you have it. This is the kind of entry you get when you complain that I don't mention you on the blog :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Picture Time!

Run: 3mi/28:45

Dah-da-da-dah. (Hammer time!) Except it's picture time!! Let's start with today, when I attempted to make tortillas. Our cook, Cande, taught me once before I left Mexico. I'm determined to learn this. Today was a practice session. The girls joined me and took some pictures as well.

 The shapes were much better this time. As in - not squares or mickey mouse heads or parallelograms. Instead, a lot of them were circles - win! Unfortunately, the consistency of the dough was wrong, and they didn't taste good - fail! Maybe next time. The girls, though, had a lot of fun playing with the dough.
Christmas morning - before:
 Coming downstairs:
 I got my absolute favorite peanut butter from my sister in law :)
 Mary found a way to peek into our circle of gift opening.
 The girls got riding hats for their horseback riding lessons!
 Book time - Hannah got a huge book about the cosmos.
 I gave the girls personalized horse notepads for all of their lists and notes.
 Christmas breakfast.
 Mary, just because she's so cute, and I miss my Lucy.
 I got to go shopping for Christmas. I got some Ugg-style boots from Costco. I know that I'm five years behind the trend, and I swore they were ugly, but they are so comfy and warm, and you wouldn't believe how much I crave warm things while in Mexico. I got a new coat from the ever-local Fred Meyer store. I got a new pair of Converse, and today we stopped in at Ross, where I found a warm sweatshirty-jacket, and a vest!! I've been wanting a vest, but haven't found one I really liked. Today I scored because not only do I love it, but it was 8 dollars.

I just tried it on for Hannah, and said "Hey Hannah, do you like my new vest?" Do you know what she did? She laughed. She laughed hysterically. She laughed so much that she moved across the room. She continued laughing while I protested that she wasn't being very nice. My mom whispered to her that she might want to tell me that she did like it. And my mom said "Isn't it darling?" and Hannah responded with a quizzical look. So apparently this is not appreciated by 7 year olds. But I like it anyway.

Books: Passing

Passing by Nella Larsen

Written in the late 1920s, Passing focuses on the surprise meeting of two grown women, who run into each other after not seeing each other since their teenage years. One woman stayed in her community, married a darker skinned man, had children and is in the midst of leading a happy life. The other woman, through life circumstances, ends up passing as a white woman, marries a white racist, and has children. One "passes" as a white woman, with none of her new family or friends knowing her true background. The other is an integral part of black Harlem. 

This novella is excellent. While other authors might have spent a great amount of time focusing on the women's childhoods together, it is passed over in a matter of a few pages. While Larsen could have drawn out elaborate scenes at a social gathering, Larsen gets to the meaty conversation that really matters. Because of this, this shorter story goes straight to the matter: What happens when there are secrets, emotions, statuses to hide?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Snow Running

Run: 3mi/30:00

Have you ever run in the snow? I am afraid of anything on the road that might make me fall. I'm not very coordinated, and after breaking my foot once due to clumsiness, I have a fear of losing my footing. (Disclaimer: I did not break my foot running, so don't try to tell me that running is dangerous. Trying be cool and learn to skateboard is dangerous. It's especially dangerous when you think you are better at skateboarding than you truly are).

Today I hemmed and hawed over going out for a run outside and thinking about what time I would fit that in. I'm not used to running in the middle of the day, and we had a lot of other activities planned. I muttered out loud about my predicament and my sister-in-law simply stated "Why don't you just go running now?" So I did. And although the roads weren't completely clear, it worked. I just worried the whole time, about the snow/ice and also about the ungodly amount of cinnamon streusel bouncing around in my stomach.

But it all turned out okay. 

It was beautiful, the snow on the pastures, the bright sun in the sky, my breath making a cloud in even increments. I could get used to running in the snow... if only there wasn't the danger factor.

And just at that moment, Coldplay came on my playlist.
"Was a long and dark December
From the rooftops I remember
There was snow
White snow"

It's a depressing song. So nevermind.

Accomplished today:
*Slept in
*Ran 3 miles
*Read books with the nieces
*Went out to lunch
*Got a new pair of Converse on the cheap
*Took nieces swimming
*Went out to dinner 

And at this very moment my brother is trying to pull out my niece's tooth with a paper towel. Cringing has commenced.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


People are coming over for games and snacks tonight. I popped a piece of cheese in my mouth as I walked into the bathroom to see what Dana was up to (flossing her teeth). 
Dana: What were you eating?
Me: Some cheese.
Dana: Oh. I can't eat cheese.
Me: Oh, bummer. Do you want to smell my breath?
Dana: Yes. (She smells it). Uuughh!
Me: Bad? It smells bad?
Dana: It smells peppery.
Me: Well, it was peppercorn cheese!! Peppercorns are those little black balls of pepper.
Dana: I eat walnut cheese.
Me: You mean almond cheese?
Dana: .... I eat almond cheese... and guess what? It doesn't taste good!

Earlier my brother was asking about the origins of Lucy's name. He wondered if she was more like Lucy Pevensie, Lucy from Peanuts, Lucille Ball
"Or Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds?" Hannah, age 7, inquired, which launched a discussion as to how Hannah knows that song, and the implications. And the playing of the song, of course.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Run: 3mi/30:00 I couldn't help myself. Now I'm sore. 

A few thoughts from the back of my brain. The very very back.

Earlier this week I had to fill up the minivan with gas at the Shell station conveniently located across the street from our motel. After I realized I had to pump the gas myself and started the procedure, a TV screen on top of the fuel station came on, and Rachael Ray started blabbing at me from the screen. I'm sorry ladies everywhere, but I do not enjoy listening to Rachael Ray. I just don't. And just when I think I'm safe at the gas station, she pops up out of nowhere to haunt me. What have we come to, when I have to watch commercials at the gas station?

We had to leave behind my dad's truck in California, and some friends who have visited us in Mexico numerous times offered to let it stay with them. We stopped by their house to drop it off. This was in the front yard. I'm not opposed to Christmas decorations, but I am opposed to this kind. As a friend recently said, "I want to take a BB gun to all of those Christmas inflatables". All parties involved in this paragraph will remain unnamed.
During our mad rush of shopping, I ended up wandering around Kohl's, and I stopped in the perfume aisle to test some things out. One tip for perfume shopping: never do it when there are 10 other people shopping for perfume. You won't know what you're smelling. Trust me on this. Since I felt like an idiot spraying the perfume and then sniffing the air, I proceeded to spray one on my wrist. I didn't think that through well enough, because I then realized I couldn't spray any others on me. I'm smart, just a little slow.  

Later on in the evening I smelled my wrist... and it smelled great. So much so, that I kept sticking my wrist up to my nose to catch a whiff. Then I realized that the man in the next truck was watching me. My mom told me not to worry, he probably just thought I was wiping my nose. Gross, Mom. The clincher in this story? I can't remember what perfume it was. I will find out, though, so I can proceed to sniff my wrists in public. 

I leave you with a picture of myself. Just 'cause. I don't want you all thinking I reside in the creeper glasses.

Friday, December 24, 2010


Run: 11mi/1:52:10

Nothing says "Merry Christmas!" like an 11 mile run. On a treadmill. On a military base.

I didn't want to run outside, especially 11 miles. So my wonderful sister in law took me over to the base and worked out and waited nearly 2 hours for me to finish my run. I tried shot bloks for the first time. I was bored out of my mind. I tried to focus on the red, blinky numbers on the treadmill, but it didn't help that much. There was a small window, out of which I watched a small snow pile melt during my 2 hours. It was riveting, but at least it's done.

Do any of your runners ever catch yourself wondering why you put yourself through this insanity? This has, in the past, come up in my mind when I'm at home in Mexico and I pass the health clinic 3-4 times in a long run. And I wonder what the guards think of me when I'm still running an hour after they first saw me. Today I thought about while at the gym, on the treadmill, thinking "9 down, 2 to go", and proceeding to try to plan out when my next run would be. What? WHAT?! How in the world did I get to this place?

I have promised my nieces that I would take them swimming at the Y while I'm here. We went last time I was here and had a ball. I had a conversation with Dana this afternoon about it. It went like so:

Dana: When are we going swimming?
Me: I think on Monday. I think the Y is open on Monday.
Dana: We are going swimming on Christmas Eve!?
Me: No, today is Christmas Eve. We're going swimming on Monday.
Dana: Today is not Christmas Eve! First comes Christmas, and then Christmas Eve, and so we are going swimming on Christmas Eve.
Me: No, today is Christmas Eve. Eve means the night before, and tomorrow is Christmas, so today is Christmas Eve.

She didn't care. She went off on some other tangent. And just a few minutes ago she had another conversation with another person whether today was Christmas Eve or not.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's That Time Again

That time again where I just show you pictures. 'Cause I like it like that.

 The snowflakes in the library window, for our Christmas part last week.
 Driving from Weed to Klamath Falls.
 Klamath Falls morning.

 Mary! It's not Lucy, but it's awfully close. They basically have the same personality.

 Hannah's learning how to play the piano.
 Decorating cookies.


Run: 5.7 mi/ 54:45

After a healthy bout of hospitality in California, with places to stay and absolutely wonderful food, we headed on to Southern Oregon, to Klamath Falls, which is covered in a nice layer of snow. The moon was gorgeous last night, driving through Northern California, lighting up the sky, the trees, and the fog.

My nieces just stuck their fingers in their ears, and then chased after each other, fingers extended, yelling "Wax, Wax!" This is just the beginning.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Run: 3mi/29:00

Have you been Christmas shopping lately? It's crazy out there, people. We stopped in Turlock, California (I know, you've never heard of it, neither had I) to do some shopping. They had a Costco. And  Kohl's. And every other store. I said to my mom "I feel like we've been here before...." and turns out we haven't. Just another place that looks exactly like this, in California - the huge strip malls off the freeway with the Kohl's, the Target, the Bed, Bath & Beyond, the Red Robin, the Chipotle, the Best Buy, the Ross, etc. and etc. On and on. The lines were long, the stores were crowded. Enough said.

I woke up this morning to find that my sports watch that I wear for running had died during the middle of the night. So, I bought a new one today at Target.

Yeah. It's bright orange. I couldn't help myself.

Are you still Christmas shopping? I'm nearly done, although I didn't get what I wanted today. It will all work out, though. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ethical Questions

Run: 2.9mi/29:00

This morning it was my job to get gas in the minivan. Dad severely hurt is back yesterday, and couldn't drive at all, so I was in charge of the minivan while Mom took over driving the truck (and trailer). I pulled up to a station that was close to gas station employee who was emptying garbage cans. How convenient, I thought, I'll be nice and not make him walk very far.

I pulled up, rolled down my window a little, and waited. And waited. And a minute later I remembered I was in California, land of pump-your-own-gas. I grew up in Portland. In Oregon it's against the law to pump your own gas. I live in Mexico, where there are gas attendants who pump your gas for you. I forgot. Creature of habit.

Somewhere North of Bakersfield we stopped at Flying J truck stop. If you've never been to one of these fine institutions, you're missing out on what makes America great. Roseanne (yes, the TV show) was playing in the truckers' lounge. There were Pigs-In-A-Blanket that were the size of my forearm (I am not exaggerating), and there was a group of Japanese tourists buying everything in sight. It's good to be back in America!!

This leads to my question. While using the truck stop bathroom, I found a quarter on the floor. I thought to myself, really? You need a quarter off the floor of a truck stop bathroom?

Then I reasoned that if I washed it, just like I was going to wash my hands, then it would be okay. I am now the proud owner of that quarter. We all know how desperate I am for money. Wait - I haven't written about that on the blog! To make a long story short: Stevie offered me 20 dollars to drink a glass full of hot dog juice, the salty leftover water in the hot dog package. I did it. She still owes me 20 dollars. That's how desperate I am for money.

Would you do it? Would you pick up a quarter off the floor of the bathroom? Would you drink hot dog juice for 20 bucks?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

On the road again..

We used to sing that when we went on family trips in the car. And we were in the car a lot today. 4.5 hours to Tijuana, diverted to another border crossing, sat in line for 2 hours, and finally crossed the border at 2pm. Drove through LA, and settled in at our motel.

The scariest thing about driving in the rain in California is.... driving amongst Californians. No offense, Californians, but I don't trust you driving in the rain. Really, I don't mean anything bad by that. It's just because you don't drive in the rain very much. And I have driven in the rain a lot. It's like a Minnesotan telling me I can't drive in the snow. Which is true, I can't. I almost killed myself one time, driving from St. Helens, to Portland, in the snow.

Luckily I escaped alive, and people were cautious and kind. The rain wasn't really heavy. It was actually more of a constant mist to a medium rain, but that mist that kicks up from cars can be pretty vicious.

This is my list for how to drive in the rain:
1) Go slower. I don't care where you have to be. Don't kill me. Drive 5-10mph slower than normal, especially in high traffic.
2) Give yourself more space between cars than normal. You need more stopping room.
3) Signal long before you start to change lanes. Check every single blind spot. Twice.
4) Watch those semis. They're crazy. And you don't want to be pushed off the road by one.
5) Don't slam on the brakes. Hydroplaning is no fun. And the guy behind you doesn't have time to stop. Rule #5 is usually avoided by following rule #2.

Those are some of Meghan's Words to the Wise. It's like a PSA announcement. I should start this as a recurring series. Next up-- Meghan's Words to the Wise: How to Make Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream.

What'd you eat today? I had an In-n-Out burger, and then tonight we ate at Corner Bakery Cafe. We are staying in a motel tonight that we've stayed at before, but it's been at least 4 years. Last time we were here, we found this restaurant. I remembered it. Salad/Soup combos are good. I thought I wanted to put in a Sports Bar type restaurant in our town of VG, but I changed my mind. We need a bakery cafe.

I gotta put in 3 miles tomorrow morning. It's raining. I only have shorts. This is going to be fun, right? Right.

We're heading to the California valley tomorrow, to see our dentist. I need major work done. Not looking forward to it.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Up and Down, Up and Down

My long run this morning provided for plenty of ups and downs.

Low: The snarling, barking, jumping, ferocious German Shepherd that snuck up behind me and was heading straight toward me. I screamed. I screamed loudly.

High: The stranger a block back who immediately yelled at the dog for me, and thus helped to shoo him away.
Low: Feeling extra tired this morning, most likely a result of having a party last night, and cleaning up afterward.

High: The very old, toothless man, who hobbled along with a big stick. I said "Buenos dias" (as I do to most everybody), and he replied "Hola! Buenos Dias! Buen dia!" He was cute.
Low: Realizing this is my last run with Lucy for a month.

High: Running with Lucy :)
High: Knowing that this will be the last time I will run these streets over and over. And over and over again. 

High: Looking forward to running in the cold, the rain, and among green plants.

High: Enjoying my last run with sunglasses for a while :) 

High: Running my first 10 miler since last Spring. 

I guess there were more highs than lows.


Run: 10mi/1:40:00

Perfect! I love it when it times out perfectly. Not that I ran it at the right pace or anything. That would be silly. But instead, it's a completely even number. 10 miles at 10 minute miles equals 1 hour and 40 minutes of running. Perfect!

Last week Gabby provided my English classes with some extra fun: Sugar cookies to frost and decorate. Not only did she have frosting, but tons of candy to pile on top. You can imagine how excited the kids were (and how much I heard about it the next day).

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Presents

Is it so bad that when asked about what I want for Christmas, all I can think of is running paraphenelia? A Garmin Forerunner110 (without HR monitor).

Okay. Maybe a new pair of Vans. Or a banjo.

But really, running stuff.

What do you want for Christmas? Have you figured out all of your Christmas gifts? Luckily my dad and brother do not read my blog, so I can say that I haven't figured them out yet. Hopefully I'll have some divine guidance.


Run: 4.3/45:00

Ohhh it felt so good to go slow this morning. Yesterday trashed my rear end and I was sore when I got out of bed this morning.

Hey! Yesterday we had a Christmas posada. A Christmas program with the kids, and a potluck where the moms all brought food. Homemade Mexican food? I'm there!
 Geno tries to get her class to dance. It was futile, but Geno looked good trying! The funniest part was Sinai (the other teacher) as Mary, holding our littlest baby, Jose, as baby Jesus.
 Moms and a few dads, watching the babies.
 Alejandro, our little angel. Isn't he precious!?
 Three kings! (Usiel, Ashbye, Eric)
 The three kings visit Mary and her baby (Sarita and doll).
 Shepherds and sheep.
 Martha singing along with the song.
 Singing and waving hands.
 Potluck! (I couldn't get a decent picture to show the mass amounts of food in our kitchen).

SO! Elda, who used to be a teacher went and got married last year, and had a baby in June. She then lived in Veracruz for a while, and just came back! Asiel is only 5 months old, and he entertained us in the kitchen after we served and ate food.