After I published yesterday’s post, and left comments on a couple of blogs about not having statues at my house, I suddenly felt the need to correct myself and clarify. I do have some small religious statues; I just don’t have any concrete ones in my yard or anywhere outside. No Saint Francis statue, no shrine to Our Lady, not even an angel or a garden gnome. I do have a few inside, though; here’s one of my favorites:
Joe gave it to me the Christmas before last.
I have more statues and figurines, but I won’t bore you with photos of them all today. (Hm, but maybe I’ll show them to you in another blog post sometime. As a matter of fact, I’m already composing that one…)
Many of you know I’m a HUGE fan of Dean Koontz’ Odd Thomas series. And that there has been a movie made based on the first book, but it’s been in limbo for more than a year because it’s tied up in lawsuits because someone owes someone money or some such thing. The latest rumors suggest that it may never be released in theaters and it will likely go straight to DVD. That would be a shame, if for no other reason than it would guarantee that there would be no sequels made, ever. But, there is a trailer!! Check it out:
Notice there is no rating, no release date, not even a “Coming Soon.” But the fact that there is a trailer gives me hope. (For more details and pics from the movie, click here.)
I’ve done a little geocaching this summer; mostly by myself, but I dragged a friend out to help me find one a few weeks ago, when our two families had gone on a camping trip together. The hike we had planned that day was rained out, and we spent the day sitting under canopies watching the rain, playing card games, and shooting the breeze. When the rain let up, we all went for a walk. I then decided that we really needed some ice from the nearby convenience store, and while we’re at it, let’s look for the geocache just up the road. It turned out to be one of my all-time favorites.
(Don’t I look glamorous? The geocache is hiding behind the front tire.)
This was here, too–I know I already showed it to you, but it’s a hoot.
In the June/July issue of Fine Cooking, there is a section devoted to strawberries. By the time I got around to trying one of the recipes, strawberry season was already over. I can still get them in the grocery store, of course; so one Sunday I decided to try this one:
Grilled Chicken and Strawberries with Balsamic Syrup
In a 1-quart saucepan, boil 3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar until reduced by half, about 2 minutes; set aside. thread 5 medium unhulled strawberries on each of 4 skewers. Brush four 5-oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets with olive oil and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the chicken and strawberries until the chicken is cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side, and the strawberries have slight grill marks, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Serve drizzled with a little extra-virgin olive oil and the reduced vinegar and sprinkled with 2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil.
(From Fine Cooking No. 123, June/July 2013, p.62)
Joe and the boys were a little bit skeptical, but it was delicious.
Last week I finished reading this book:
I think if I started sharing my thoughts here it might turn into a whole blog post. For now, I’ll just say that I used to think of Vincent Van Gogh as a crazy guy who cut off his ear and painted some amazing pictures. He was much more complex than that, of course; he saw the world around him differently than most people, and had a deep love and respect for the poor and destitute. He fell in love several times only to have his heart broken again and again. People shunned him because he didn’t have a “real job,” and because he was eccentric. His younger brother loved him deeply and supported him financially while he pursued his painting; even though at that time no one was interested in his artwork. Lust for Life is considered a historical novel, not a biography; the author admits that some details were embellished (especially dialog–you can’t re-create conversations word-for-word, of course), but the events in the book are factual. After reading this book I have a renewed awe and respect for Van Gogh and his work.
The whole time I was reading Lust for Life, this song was playing over and over in my head. I wonder if Don McLean wrote it after he read the book….?
Last fall I tried my hand at running. I avoided it like the plague for years, because when I was a freshman in college I took a conditioning class as one of two required phys ed courses, and it was torture. Basically the class consisted of running, weight training, and stationary bikes, with a little bit of instruction thrown in here and there. I didn’t mind the weights and the bikes–remember those exercise bikes that had a fan in front that spun when you worked the pedals, and gave you a nice breeze while you exercized? I loved those. My grandmother had one, and I used to go over to her house just so I could ride it. I dreaded the days we had to run, though, because I would get winded quickly and have to stop and walk.
Fast-forward to the last few years, when more and more people I know have taken up running and they love it. I signed the boys and myself up for a 5K (long story why I decided to do a 5K–and they ended up backing out. Gah.), and I decided I would at least practice a little bit beforehand. I heard about an app called “Ease Into 5K,” and decided to try it. It starts you out running for short bursts and walking in between, and over a period of eight weeks, it gradually increases your running times until you’re running 3.1 miles nonstop. I did the 5K by myself only a few weeks into the training and ended up walking most of it, but I found I enjoyed the experience. Right around Christmas I started to slack off, and by January I had completely stopped. This summer I decided to take it up again. I started from the very beginning, and now I’m on Week 6. Today’s workout was a nine-minute run, a five-minute run, and a two-minute run with two minutes of walking in between each. The next time (either Sunday or Monday) I’ll do two nine-minute runs with three minutes of walking in between. By the end of the week (I think) I’ll be running twenty consecutive minutes without any walks except for a five minute warm-up and cool-down.
I signed up to do another 5K in September, and I am bound and determined to get through all eight weeks of this training. Hopefully after that I’ll be able to increase my speed and distance. (Any app recommendations?) I’m enjoying running outdoors–even though when I run up and down hills, sometimes my ankles begin to ache. If anyone has any advice to remedy that, I’d love to hear it. I’ve been praying the Rosary while I run, and I expect when my runs get longer I’ll start listening to music. (Guess I’d better get started on my playlist.)
Have a great weekend, and be sure to check out Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!