Holiday Projects

Given that we have two weeks off work for the holidays, the time was ripe for some house projects. The one on the list was resealing the stone floor in the entrance. The actual job only took an hour, but the sealer needed 24 hours of no walking on it, so we vacated and headed for a couple of days in Seattle.

Arriving home to a pristine floor.

Still with a week and a half of holidays, we needed another project. Jason and I seem to have this disease that prevents us from being idle. Even when on vacation, we usually come home from holidays exhausted. Anyway... we found some glass tile we thought would look good in our bathroom, and decided to cover one of the walls with it. This would be a several day job, so fit the bill nicely.

Jason grouting.

One surprise for any future owners of our house, we left the area behind the mirror untiled. We figured it would be a waste of tile and money... so "surprise!" for anyone who may want a different mirror someday.

We're quite pleased with the finished look, and it keeps with the bathroom's spa theme.

There remains over half a week of holidays left, plenty of time for a new project. Luckily some out-of-town friends are coming to visit, which saves us from ourselves before we start re-siding the house or something like that.

One Year Later

We did the same route this year as last for our annual Christmas day hike, and what a difference a year can make! Last year (when I was training for IMAZ) it was a super wet fall, with a ridonculous amount of rain. It showed in the rivers and creeks around. This year, of course not training for anything so no long, 5+ hour rides on the weekend, and it's been a pretty dry year.

I guess I should add to make up for that, Mother Nature decided it would start raining just as we left for our hike yesterday, but be warm (seriously, Jason ran in shorts yesterday afternoon) and sunny, not a cloud in the sky by the time we got home. I guess she wanted to make sure we remembered what the PNW is all about.

We did the Holt Creek loop, but the short version this year because of the rain. Check out the comparison:

This year on Dec. 25, regular Holt Creek.

Last year on Dec. 25, raging Holt Creek.

This year on Dec. 25, where Holt Creek
meets the Cowichan River.

Last year on Dec. 25, where Holt Creek
meets the Cowichan River.

In the summer, of course the creek is a tiny trickle and the river has some great swimming holes for relief from the heat. Despite yesterday's sogginess, it was great to be outside and enjoying everything the Cowichan Valley has to offer. Is there a prettier place this time of year?

We were also very lucky to get a sighting of the elusive rainforest zebra it's in natural habitat.

Rainforest Zebra.

Dogzilla - attack!

This fall I'll be training Ironman Arizona again... I wonder what Holt Creek will look like on Dec. 25, 2012?

Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays... whatever they mean to you, I hope this year is the best ever. We're pretty low-key around here, however do love decorating the tree and putting up lights. We're not big on presents at our house, but have two weeks off work together to spend playing, visiting friends, and working on house projects.

Of course, if presents were bikes then it
would be an entirely different matter!

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love! ~Hamilton Wright Mabie

Santa Run

This morning was the first annual Run for a Claus here in town, put on by the United Way. First 250 people got a Santa suit to run in, so of course Jason and I signed up. Problem was... this weekend I came down with a brutal sinus cold, and barely dragged myself out of bed this morning. I really wasn't sure how I could do a 5k run, so Jason said I should just run/walk and have fun wearing the suit with a couple hundred others.

It was fun milling around the start line with all the Santas, and there were lots of dogs. We didn't know dogs were allowed or Humu definitely would be here - she even has her own Santa suit! Next year.

Jason ran with me, taking pictures - but as you can see most pictures involved capturing suit adjustments. The suits weren't the best quality... and I will definitely use my own belt next year as the one that came with the suit was a bit flimsy. There were lots of examples of "wardrobe malfunctions" along the way, and that just added to the humour. Plus lots of honking and waving from cars and passerbys, I'm sure they were wondering why hundreds of Santas were running down the road!

Despite being sick, I ran the whole way but a little slower than usual. We got to the finish line and my garmin read just over 3k - there were rumours that the course was short, but that is way short! I know, what kind of Santa wears a garmin? I just got one for running and wanted to try it out. My cold caught up with me at the end and I was pretty much ready to get back to my juice-chugging regimen and a nap.

Ho ho ho - see you next year, running Santas!

Souper Sunday

Those who know me, know I don't spend heaps of time in the kitchen preparing food. My idea of a killer side dish is a yellow pepper cut into strips - voila! But one thing I really enjoy is making soup, especially my favourite super-yummy carrot soup. It's a drawn-out, multi-step process though, so this time I thought I'd make a double batch and then freeze a bunch so I can have it whenever fancy strikes me.

First step is cutting onions, and I am pretty darn sensitive to those pesky sulfoxides! So my solution - wearing swim goggles while I chop!

Guess I'm going to need a bigger saute pan if I keep making double batches...

Look at all the carrots!

Boils, then cooks for 30 minutes. While cooking, I get to mark papers - multitasking joy! I also let the soup cool completely before I puree it, I found out the hard way that pureeing boiling hot soup is the opposite of fun.

Food processor working over time.

Last step, adding the almond milk (this is a completely vegan recipe)... then spooning some out into bags for the freezer.

Boo to cleaning up, the one part that's not that fun.

Bonus treat - cookies. Melt dark chocolate, organic peanut butter and a splash of almond milk. Stir in some steel-cut oats, form into blobs and stick in the fridge for 10 minutes.