Month: December 2011 (page 1 of 5)

RunningBlog: Week 52

Week 52
Another year has come and gone! As you’ll recall, last year I pulled out all the stops to hit my goal of 1000km. This year I was aiming for 1100km, and for the first half of the year I was on track to surpass that by far. Unfortunately the second half of the year was a different story. I suffered a couple injuries (rolling my left ankle repeatedly) and then I got sidelined by a virus and cough for several weeks. It sucks that I didn’t quite get to 1100, but I’m pretty proud regardless. The final numbers:

Dec. 26: 8.86km
Dec. 28: 6.86km
Dec. 30: 8.02km (cycling)
Dec. 31: 5.16km
Total this week: 20.88km (13.05mi)
Total in 2011: 1043.77km (652mi) – 4% increase from 2010

Goals for 2012: I’m now training in earnest for the July 1 Gold Coast Marathon. I’d love to be able to finish it in 5:30. I’d also like to run the Blackmore’s Half-Marathon next September and finish it in under 2:30. I’d like to start my podcast up again. (Anybody want to contribute or co-host?) And I’d like to comment more on DailyMile and Fitocracy to thank everyone who’s given me such encouragement this year.

Meet Tiffany!

TiffanyBring on 2012!
I know I’ve been quiet lately. Big things are happening, but I’ve been enjoying the past week’s vacation too much to sit in front of a computer. One thing we’ve been doing is looking at bicycles. We checked out Cheeky Transport in Newtown, and then yesterday we visited Atelier de Vélo and Clarence Street Cyclery. At Clarence Street, we discovered it was the last day of their Christmas sale… and they happened to have a great deal on a Trek 2012 7.4 FX WSD bike. Four hours later, I was riding it home! The Snook came to meet me and we did a slow 8K through the CBD to the Rocks and then home again via Darling Harbour. It’s been a while since I rode a bike, and I’ve never ridden such a fancy one before. It’s going to take some practice!

I suppose I should mention why I got the bike. This is the really big news: I got a new job. A couple weeks ago, a friend and former colleague called me up with an offer to join him at Sitback. I met with the company founders, visited the office, and chatted with some employees. There was no interview as such; they were trying to sell me on the idea of coming there. (Very flattering!) I’ve been in my current role for three years, and I’ve been wondering if it’s time for a change. This was the perfect opportunity. I gave notice at my current role before Christmas, and I finish up on January 20. Then I start at Sitback on the 23rd! I will be their sole Business Analyst, writing specs for all the exciting projects they’re working on. One very cool aspect of the job is that the offices are down in the Rocks not far from the Snook’s office at Walsh Bay. We’re going to be able to commute together! That’s why I was excited to get a bicycle. The ride is fairly short – only about 4.5km – but it’s a lot faster on a bike than on the bus. I’ll miss my weekly workout at Spudds, of course, but I’m hoping to still get over there for the occasional evening class. Luckily some of my new colleagues are sporty and apparently we’ve got gym access there as well. I can’t wait!

Needless to say, I’m very excited for all the new changes coming in 2012!

Purple Ombre Sprinkles Cake recipe

Purple Ombre Sprinkles Cake recipe – Pretty!

I choose you, Bulbasaur! – CROCHET

I choose you, Bulbasaur! – CROCHET – I remain amused but uncontaminated by the spreading hexapuff madness. That said, I could totally see myself crocheting 1000-odd granny squares to make some silly 8-bit game character.

Hacking Scrabble (Part One)

Hacking Scrabble (Part One) – Ooh, cool! I was worried this would be about cheating, but it’s more about memory tricks and some neat computing…

Christmas Craftiness 2011

Christmas Craftiness 2011
I just realised that I’ve made a lot of stuff this month that didn’t actually get documented on the blog yet. For posterity’s sake…

Tree OrnamentsFelt Tree Ornaments
As in previous years, a group of my knitting friends met up for a “Christmas Tea Party” earlier in the month. We always do a handmade ornament exchange. Rather than knit something, I saw some felt tree ornaments online and decided to sew instead. I made a template out of some cardstock and cut out the front and back of several trees. Then I hand-sewed on a selection of buttons to each front. (I’ve got a box of odd buttons.) Then I sewed the pieces together, sandwiching a piece of ribbon at the top for the hanger and leaving the bottom open. I stuffed each tree lightly with polyfill, then sewed the opening closed. I then trimmed the edges with pinking shears and did some decorative stitching with red yarn. They turned out pretty cute! I was very happy to see them go home with Kylie, who has hung them on her mantle. (In a stunning non-coincidence, I got Kylie’s project: a truly amazing knitted Christmas tree!)

Nuts & Bolts and Compost CookiesNuts & Bolts and Compost Cookies
Next up was the December meeting of the Inner City brand of the Knitters Guild, and I was on duty for morning tea. I decided to go with a sweet/salty theme and made “Nuts & Bolts” and Compost Cookies. Nuts & Bolts is basically the Australian equivalent of Chex Mix. (Recipe here.) You mix up cereal and nuts with a packet of soup mix and some spices and then bake it in the oven to get crispy. I also add pretzels to mine. This stuff is addictive! The Compost Cookies were famously created at the Momofuku Milk Bar in New York. (Recipe here.) The idea is that you throw all kinds of sweet and salty things in there: potato chips, coffee grinds, candy, whatever. I used dark choc chips, meringue pieces, Tim Tams, Sesame Snaps, pretzels, and sea salt crisps. They were pretty good! Even though I chilled them overnight, they still spread quite a bit in the oven. (Always happens. I still haven’t gotten the hang of the new oven yet, clearly.) Both dishes were a big hit at the meeting.

Caramel Walnut Upside-Down Banana CakeCaramel Walnut Upside-Down Banana Cake
We got some ladyfinger bananas in one of our FoodConnect boxes, so I decided to turn them into a cake. I’d made this Smitten Kitchen recipe before and the Snook really liked it. I actually divided the batter in two and made two smaller cakes this time: one for us and one to take to work. I still haven’t worked out the trick to getting flipping the cakes and getting the caramel out nicely, but the taste outweighs the messiness of the topping. Everybody at work loved it, and the cake I took in disappeared in about 5 minutes!

Candied Gingerbread MenCandied Gingerbread Men
I had a wild idea to make gingerbread men for our last day of work before the Christmas break. Of course, the only cookie cutter I own is the state of Michigan (don’t ask), so I had to go on a search for a proper one. Then I had to decide on a recipe. I went with Serious Eats’s Candied Gingerbread Men. It uses crystallized ginger, which I know the Snook likes a lot. He actually did most of the prep for the dough since he was on vacation this week. I cut them out and baked them late Wednesday night. I didn’t have any time to decorate them, but they were still tasty. The shapes were amusingly non-standard, mostly because I suck at rolling out dough and cutting consistent shapes. It was good fun though, and it made the whole house smell like Christmas!

RunningBlog: Week 51

Week 51
It was kind of a crazy week. I had only three full work days to try to finish everything up at the office, and Spudds was cancelled for the holidays. I still managed three runs though so I’m satisfied with that. The one upside to Sydney’s cold and grey summer has been how pleasant it is to run!

Dec. 18: 5.02km
Dec. 21: 5.01km
Dec. 23: 2.18km (walking)
Dec. 24: 5.01km
Total this week: 15.04km (9.4mi)
Total in 2011: 1022.89km (639mi)

Only one week to go!

This little light of mine…

I’m gonna let it SHINE!
I present to you the cutest thing I’ve seen in a long time:

That kid in the middle, the one raising his arms every time they sing “shine”? That’s my nephew Penn. My sister asked him afterwards if he was supposed to do that. “Nope!” He just felt like it. I love that there was no self-consciousness; he’s at that age where he feels joy and he can just express it without worrying about what’s cool. Isn’t that wonderful? We should all have such moments in our lives. 🙂

The most insufferable Christmas song ever – Christmas –

The most insufferable Christmas song ever – Christmas – – Every time I hear this song, I think about Nora‘s hatred of it. It’s my own Christmas tradition. 🙂

Apple – iPhone – Videos – Santa

Apple – iPhone – Videos – Santa – Awww, this is really cute! Santa uses Siri to plan his night.