More Camino Training

Warmish days in December are rare in this area, so Kevin and I took advantage of what was most likely the last decent day to embark on an 8+ mile training walk along the White River. I carried my pack, which is 10 lbs including 1.5 liters of water. I have everything in my pack except a first aid kit and toiletries.

Kevin opted for no pack, but that’s ok. We will focus more on packs in early spring. For now it was just nice to get out and enjoy the weather. I started out with a long sleeved shirt but had to change after about two miles into a lighter weight base layer. That is the purpose of training walks…learning what clothing feels best in various conditions.

The leaves have nearly all fallen, but the route is still beautiful. Our morning walk was cloud free and just a light breeze. We have about 1.5 inches of rain on Saturday. As a result, the White River was flooding, encroaching on part of our route, but it was still passable. I used the flooded areas to test out the shoes. Yes…they are water resistant!

The scenery was lovely. Lots of geese, ducks and other water fowl. Not fond of all the geese dropping along the path!

Not sure how many more days like this we will have before real winter sets in, but for now we are trying to take advantage of every one we can. Much of winter will be spent weight training and walking indoors and marking of the days until we arrive on the Camino.

Happy thanksgiving

Hope that everyone has a wonderful thanksgiving. In all my travels, I have learned that food, family, and friends bring us together. Today, Kevin and I will have a small dinner…just us and the kitties. The 12.5 lb turkey is in the oven. Gobble gobble.

8 Mile Training Walk

Just love walking in the fall, and with our Camino just six short months in the future, our walks have more purpose.  We have worked unto a solid 8 miles with packs.  This will be about half the distance on a typical day on the Camino. Sunday we walked along the White River.  My pack was 10 pounds; Kevin’s a bit lighter. We already have most of the gear we will take on the Camino.  The only items I don’t have in my pack are my first aid kit and a few toiletries.

The pilgrims on the Camino say “the Camino will provide” meaning that if you need something, don’t stress, it will appear along the way.  Kevin had left this walking stick at home, but just as the pilgrims said…a stick had been left onshore as the flooded river receded, leaving Kevin a perfect walking stick for the day.

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I just love fall and the colors were near peak. We had heavy rains earlier in the week so the river was high, washing all the goose droppings off the path.9A96C4DA-7A46-4013-94EE-C627B24624B8

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This tree was especially brilliant.  It was all I could do not to jump in the leaves.

As winter sets in we will have fewer opportunities for our river walks, but for the next few weeks, we will enjoy as much of the outdoors as possible.

 

 

Training for the Camino Portugues

Several  months ago my husband and I watched the movie The Way, starring Martin Sheen and directed by Emilio Estevez. My husband commented “ that looks like fun…we should do that.” And since he really doesn’t like anything involving exercise or the outdoors, I immediately agreed.  The route in the movie is the Camino Francés…500 miles which takes most people about 5 weeks.  At present, it’s rather difficult for me to get that much time off….so we are going to walk the Camino Portuguese.  Only 161 miles, but ends at the same place, Santiago de Compostela.

 

The Camino is actually a series of routes taken by pilgrims to the cathedral in Santiago which is believed to house the bones of St. James. Many walk for religious or spiritual reasons.  Others walk for the physical challenge.

In May,  we will begin our walk in Porto, Portugal and, if all goes as planned, will finish about 18 day’s later in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Today, we bought the hiking shoes we will use on the trek.  It takes about six months to break in hiking shoes properly and we want to make sure they fit properly to avoid blisters. Tonight we donned our backpacks and new shoes want went for walk, about 5 miles.  Other than the heat and humidity, the packs and shoes felt fine.  Training will continue until May. Stay tuned for updates.  Buen Camino.

Mediterranean Apricot and Date Chutney

I love to can.  Yes…as in mason jars, pressure cookers, and hot water baths.  Every weekend during the summer and fall, we venture to the local farmers market to gather nearly a bushel of fresh produce. The rest of the day is spent in the kitchen canning. Storing the items for the winter months.

This weekend I tried a new recipe based solely on its name and the memories it invoked.  When we lived in Abu Dhabi, we often enjoyed various dried fruits and cheeses.  This recipe, filled with apricots, dates, raisins, mustard seeds, ginger, and coriander is perfect paired with cheese and crackers or dolloped on next to a slice of lamb and couscous. Sweet and tart, with a subtle flavor profile.

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Veggie Hash

We have been searching for new ways to incorporate more vegetables into our weekend breakfasts. We often enjoy breakfast burritos, omelets, or various other egg dishes, but most were built around some type of meat. Last week, we came upon a recipe for veggie hash…a combination of sweet potatoes, broccolini, onions, peppers, garlic, eggs, and chives. Just five minutes of prep and 15 minutes in the oven.  One pan…easy clean up.  The result was fresh and light, full of a subtle sweetness from the potatoes and richness from the sauteed onions and peppers.  Eggs provide plenty of protein for a balanced meal.

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Dining in…Vietnamese Pho

I have always loved to cook. From ribs, to desserts; French to Asian. Doesn’t matter. Cooking is a form of relaxation and creativity. Last night, Kevin, my husband and sou chief, and I prepared Vietnamese Pho. A warm and hearty combination of chicken, mushrooms, broccoli, scallions, ginger, red onions, cilantro, fish sauce, rice noodles, and homemade chicken broth, topped with fresh mint from our garden.

Fargo…yes…Fargo for vacation.

 

 

Back to where it all began…at least my life in academia.  It had been four years since seeing our friends and colleagues in Fargo and North Dakota State University, so Kevin and spent two days driving (each way) to revisit our old stomping ground.

On our way to Fargo, we stopped in La Claire, Iowa.  Home to the TV show American Pickers, but also home to a lovely winery, distillery, AND brewery.  Of course we had to sample some of the local flavors (just a taste for me because I was driving).

 

Once in Fargo, we made the rounds, but the real reason for the trip was to see Weird Al in concert.  It just happened to be our wedding anniversary as well.

 

Of course…it’s not summer in Fargo without the RibFest.  There are few things in life better than ribs for lunch, so of course we were second in-line when the event opened on Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

 

Back in the USA…

My apologies.  It has been far too long since the last post, but I do have a good reason.  We returned to the US in July 2016.  In October of that year, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer.  During the next 15 months, I under went three surgeries, 16 chemotherapy treatments (four of which were 5 hours long), and 30 radiation treatments.

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Here I am during my first treatment. I starting loosing my hair hours after the first treatment, so I shaved it off! I wore a wig for about a month, but then decided I wanted to show people I was healthy…I just didn’t have hair.  My motto was “I’m not sick..I just have cancer.”

But what do you do while attached to the infusion machine for hours on end?  Answer….crochet!IMG_0690.JPG

I hadn’t crocheted for over forty years!  I made ten farmer market bags during my chemotherapy.  Of course…those of you who know me well, know I love to workout, and I wasn’t about to let a little thing like chemo get me down. So what did I do while going through chemo?  I trained to become an indoor cycling instructor. IMG_0416.JPG

I also ran a 5K (I came in first in my age group!) The beer at the finish tasted soon good.

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I had an amazing health care team, and am now in full remission.  IMG_1667.JPG

I am the Associate Dean of Teachers College at Ball State University in Muncie, IN.  Recently, I presented research at a conference in Tempere, Finland (more on that later).

I plan to post much more frequently, so please keep following.

Take care and keep filling your life with experiences rather than things.

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