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.  Now 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 150 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 will will begin our walk in Porto, Portugal and if all goes as planned will finish about 20 day’s later in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Today, we bought the hiking shoes we will use of 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.

New Year’s Eve in Dubai

My husband and I spent the holiday at the amazing JW Marriott Marquis in Dubai.  Yes, Dubai…the site of the horrific fire last night.  More on that in a moment.  We made our reservations six months ago and everything was perfect.  Our evening began with photos in the lobby and dinner at the Tong Thai restaurant in the hotel.  The set menu, served family style, included five different appetizers, soup, sorbet, six main course dishes, and dessert.  Apparently since I stay at Marriott properties a lot, the staff knew my birthday was in just a few days and surprised me with cake and a song.  So much food…and this was only the beginning of the evening.

    
Afterwards we headed to the Vault on the 72nd floor.  We had reserved our table, looking onto the Burj Khalifa.  To my surprise we were table #1, and had the very best view of the Dubai skyline.   On one side we could see all the way into the dessert on the outer limits of Dubia; on the other, we could see the beach and the Burj Arabia.

Unfortunately, this also meant that we were witness to the terrible fire that engulfed The Address, a luxury hotel and apartment building attached to the Dubai Mall and near the Burj Khalifa.  At first, we thought the flames shooting up the side of the building was a video, but quickly realized they were real.  Everyone in the Vault stood at the windows helpless, watching the flames engulf the building.  All only prayed that everyone makes it out safely.

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As of this afternoon, the fire was out; only 16 minor injuries were reported.  One person did suffer a heart attack and there has been no word on his/her condition. This is stunning given how fast the fire spread and knowing that the hotel, all 63 floors, was booked solid, and their bars and lounges on the top floors would have been packed.

 

 

What a start to the new year.  One we will not soon forget.  So Happy New Year to you all and here’s to all the joys and adventures of 2016.

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