weekend motivation…or…death awaits me…

images  Started…..puff………running……….wheeze…..again.

A few of my friends on Facebook……you know who you are……….have started running.  And if I weren’t so RIDICULOUSLY competitive, I would have let it go.

But no.

There is no possible way I could read about their progress without thinking about my … laziness “For crying out loud!” my brain screamed..  “You live in the most beautiful city, with the most beautiful weather….no job, kids all grown…”

OK. OK!  OKAY!!!!!

So…I got out and ran.  And by the way, no, those are NOT my legs in the picture.  Mine are shorter and slower.

Here are a few of my running rules:

  1. I do not like to run with a partner
  2. I do not like to talk while running because I am listening to my wheeze and my faint heart beat
  3. I will not move out of your way because I could fall and die
  4. If it sounds like a scary old man is running behind you, it is probably me
  5. I never stop for potty breaks
  6. I turn beet red when I run because I am a non-sweater..er

I’ve have raced in a marathon in Paris, done countless half-marathons and the local 10 and 5K’s, but it’s has been a long time since these old legs were moving at a faster- than – walking speed.

So Thank you, Facebook friends for dragging my buns off the couch and back out into the streets.  But I swear, if I break a hip, I’m coming after you………slowly, but definitely coming after you…

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just a ‘grillin…..

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Backyard grilling!  It wouldn’t be summertime without it! 

ALTHOUGH……………… (leave it to me to throw a wet blanket on your picnic)

Grilling – whether by gas flame or charcoal or even an electric element – demands temperatures 4 – 6 times higher than can be reached in your oven!  And unfortunately, the high heat that makes that wonderful caramelization and browning has a less desirable aspect…..

Your food may become charred before the inside is cooked through!

burnt-chicken[source]

Another hazard is cancer causing substances called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which form when the fat from the meat drips onto hot coals and then sneak into your food through the smoke.  HCA’s or heterocyclic amines, are created from heating meat, poultry or fish to a too high temperature and have been linked to cancer.

But before I totally destroy your backyard plans….here are ways to minimize the cancer risks for you and your family:

  1. Avoid flare-ups, since burning juice or fat can produce harmful smoke.  If smoke from dripping fat is too heavy, move the food to another section of the grill, rotate the grill or reduce the heat.
  2. Cook meat until it is done without charring it.  Remove any charred pieces — don’t eat them.
  3. Don’t place the heat source directly under the meat.  For example, place coals slightly to the side so the fat doesn’t drip on them.  Keep a water bottle handy for coals that become hot or flare up.
  4. Cover the grill with punctured aluminum foil before you cook.  The foil protects the food from the smoke and fire.
  5. Keep meat portions small so they don’t have to spend as long on the grill.
  6. Defrost frozen meats before grilling.  {source}

Grilling is best reserved for quick cooking foods, like fish or even thinner cuts of meat and poultry.  How about throwing some vegetables , such as eggplant, zucchini, peppers or mushrooms on that grill?  Even fruit like, apples, peaches or bananas are great grilled!

Now, get outside and have some spring-time-can’t-wait-for-summertime, BACKYARD FUN!!

sunshine

an albino hummingbird…tweet that!

How beautiful and how rare!  A ruby-throated albino hummingbird is a precious sight for all of us!

Kevin Shank took these gorgeous photos in Virginia and had them published in the October, 2011 issue of Nature Friend magazine.

Matthew 6:26, “”Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

Enjoy!

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can’t relax? go fly a kite…like this guy…

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The gentleman flying these kites, is from Canada.  His name is Ray Bethell and he is a World Champion and World Record Holder of flying multiple kites.  He comes to the Washington State International Kite Festival every year.

He generally flies the kites without his shirt, hence the brown leathery skin.  He is also deaf and when he flies the crowd holds up their hands instead of giving him applause.

Two kites are flown with his hands and the other is tied to his waist.  And of course the music is glorious.

Watch until the end so you can see the last kite land………..and hey……………………relax!  You’re going to LOVE this!

just some of the coolest pics from 2012….

Don’t you just love those crazy pictures you find on the internet?  Do people walk, run, swim or fly with their camera ON?

Well, maybe I should!  Check these out!

seahorse-checking-out-divers-watch-and-own-reflection-underwaterPhotograph by Don McLeish

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edge-of-the-world-beach-head-chalk-cliff-southern-england Photograph by RHYS DAVIES
snow-tunnel-near-mutnovsky-kamchatka-russia Photograph by Michael Zelensky
Buddhist monks chant at Pongour Falls, the largest waterfall in Dalat, Vietnam. Photograph by DANG NGO
6530942539_fb46437b6e_b Photograph by HORST KIECHLE

4947149269_27c97269c4_b Photograph by T.-C on Flickr
iguazu-falls-waterfall-island Photograph by Andrew Murray
multiple-exposure-airplane-take-off-hannover-airport-ho-yeol-ryu Photograph by HO-YEOL RYU
most-waterskiers-ever-pulled-behind-a-single-boat Photograph by MARK SEATON PHOTOGRAPHY
rainbow-surf-shot Photograph by ZAK NOYLE

oh, go take a hike…so we did….

What a glorious day!!!  A perfect day for a perfect hike!

Jimmy and I decided to go for a quick ride…which turned into a hike, back into the Caribou National Forest.

It was so beautiful back there, that we got out of the ‘gator’ and decided to walk.  I picked up my camera and Jimmy picked up his……well…..

Yeah…it was a perfect spot for a phone call………..sigh….

Oh well!  There was soo much to be discovered!  Trees that would make a perfect fort…

The moss on the trees was gorgeous and green…

It kinda gave the forest a creepy feel to it….but the sky was blue so we kept going!

We found a little stream, with just enough water to be ice!  It was only in the 40’s when we set out, so it was pretty cold!

Then I was so excited to see a little chipmunk!  He was so cute and let me take some pictures of him eating…

And this next picture is of him with 2 seconds left….

before the biggest owl EVER swooped down and snatched him up!!!!  IT WAS 2 FEET AWAY FROM MY HAIR!!!  

I was so startled that I fell over backwards and wasn’t able to snap a pic of that brute….It was his last supper.  (side note:  Jimmy thought this was the most hysterical thing he had ever seen….naturally)

So, thus ends the beautiful day in the forest.  Turns out, you CAN see the forest for the trees!!

using ‘green’ bug repellents on the fly….er, mosquito..

When your backyard is 3 million acres of a Natural Forest, you need a little something with ‘ooompf’ to keep the pesky insects at bay.  However, we’re not about to let some pesky flying bugs ruin an entire summer of backyard barbecues, hikes in the woods or just a walk around the property to keep us indoors!

I grew up in Texas where mosquitoes ruled.  We were the kids that would play in the cul-de-sac during the late evenings when the mosquito truck would pull through the neighborhood, spewing a nasty chemical (DDT) into the air.  We were the kids that chased….yes!  chased the truck, playing hide and go seek and riding our bikes in the toxic fog!  We were practically bathing in it!!  (insert twitch and asthmatic cough here)

Thankfully, times have changed!   There are some natural, ‘green’ solutions to be rid of those blood suckers: (via)

  • Blend of essential oils:
    1. Mix the following essential oils in a 4 oz. container: 20 drops Eucalyptus oil, 20 drops Cedarwood oil, 10 drops Tea Tree oil, and 10 drops Geranium oil.
    2. Add 2 oz. of a carrier oil (such as Jojoba). Mix well.
  • Mint-based bug spray:
    1. Place 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. of either catnip, spearmint, or pennyroyal (all in the mint family) in a spray bottle.
    2. Add 1 cup of isopropyl alcohol and 1 cup of water.
    3. Shake well.
  • Herbal insect repellent safe for use on the face:
    1. Blend 4 drops each of sandalwood, cajeput, and lavender essential oils with 2 teaspoons of carrier oil (such as extra virgin olive oil).
    2. Mix well and apply as needed.
  • Vodka Mist Insect Repellent:
    1. Mix the following in a spray bottle: 50 drops Jojoba, 50 drops Lavender, 25 drops Eucalyptus lemon, 25 drops Lemongrass, 25 drops Patchouli, and 25 drops Cajeput.
    2. Add 1 fluid ounce of vodka (to the spray bottle..not your mouth, people!)
    3. Mix well.
    4. Apply jojoba oil before spraying the repellent on the skin.
  • Natural insect repellent lotion:
    1. Place 2 ounces distilled water in a large mixing bowl.
    2. Slowly drizzle in 2 ounces of olive oil while beating quickly with a wire whisk.
    3. After the oil is mixed into the distilled water, stir in 120 drops of citronella essential oil.

Making homemade bug spray helps you go green because…

  • You do not need to purchase chemical bug sprays. Using products containing the insect repellent DEET may be harmful to fish and other aquatic wildlife, as well as human health.

One of the most widely used ingredients in store-bought conventional bug sprays for personal use is N,N-Diethyl-m-toluamide, or DEET, as it’s commonly known. DEET, which is designed to repel, rather than kill, insects. DEET is used by an estimated one-third of the US population each year. Although DEET is approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is a known eye irritant and can cause rashes, soreness, or blistering when applied to the skin. Additionally, DEET has been linked to neurological problems; according to the EPA, at least 18 different cases of children suffering adverse nuerological effects, as well as the deaths of two adults, have been associated with DEET. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have found that DEET causes diffuse brain cell death and behavioral changes in rats.[1]

DEET has been shown to have a negative impact on wildlife and water sources in production and during use. DEET is toxic to birds and aquatic life. DEET has been found in approximately 75 percent of U.S. water sources, including the Mississippi River.[2]

SO STAY INFORMED NOT INDOORS…

(1) Cornell – DEET Mosquito Repellent: New pharmacology study of impacts

(2) About.com – The Downside of DEET Insect Repellents: Health and Environmental Risks Associated with the Use of DEET