Sunday, May 25, 2008

Banana Gingerbread

After granting a request for Peanut butter-banana-chocolate chip pancakes this morning, I was still in a baking mood - and realized that I had a couple of overripe bananas left. Fortunately, Amber had just posted about some Banana Gingerbread she had baked, and it sounded interesting enough to try. I added some crystallized ginger to the top, just for an extra ginger kick. Pretty yummy...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Spelling Bee

Last night I was on the team representing the library in the Spellbinder Spelling Bee, benefiting the Northern Nevada Literacy Council. It's been going on for about 10 years, but last year was the first I'd heard of it. It was held at the Siena Casino in downtown Reno, just a couple blocks from the downtown library.

My teammates were friends Marc Tiar and John Andrews. As a big part of the event is costume silliness and audience participation, our team was the "Three Wiz (wise) Guybrarians." We were dressed in graduation gowns, decorated outsized novelty mortarboards, and matching "guybrarian" t-shirts. (Thanks to Andy Tavener for pulling all the great costumes and paraphernalia together.) Our cheering section all wore matching, somber black, and had noisemakers, whistles, and some REALLY loud voices.

The word list was given to contestants before the Bee, and the words in it weren't really that hard. So, only one or two of the seven teams were eliminated with those words. At a certain point, they started pulling words from "Mrs. Byrne's Dictionary of Unusual, Obscure and Preposterous Words." These were HARD. In fact, the first one was misspelled by every team but one, so that team were the winners - IGT, the defending champions. I don't even remember what word it was we lost on - I'd never heard of it. Something to do with soil. We then spelled off for second and third place, and promptly were bumped out there, too, on another word no-one had ever heard. It took a few more words to determine second and third, and I could've spelled a few of those, but for the most part, those were unspellable words. Wish there could have been a middle ground between the semi-hard words in the early rounds and the impossible ones. Like "lagniappe." That was one from Mrs. Byrne's dictionary that seemed hard but doable..

Anyway, we had a good time, and our fans won the "Best Cheering Section" trophy. Yeah. Those are some LOUD librarians.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

New wallet

I've been inspired on the duct tape wallet front recently. Can anyone guess what I call this one?

Not to re-post here, but I just ran across a blog dedicated to things that look like ducks...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Catch-up pics

Ok, I've been slacking on both this blog and my running blog. Sorry - you know how it is. Anyway, a little about what we've been up to, with pictures!

Sofia played hard last weekend, was a tiiiired girl. Napped out on the couch while I was making lunch...


We also hosted a rotating dinner party at our place last weekend - I haven't talked about it here, just letting it be it's own thing, but it was a blast. No pictures from the event, but while I was cleaning up the next day, I lined up some bottles to document some AMAZING wines that we shared...

Last night was the spring "carnival" at Julien's school, Elmcrest Elementary. He dragged Sofia and I up to it, and we did the bounce house, the wheel of fortune, the fishing hole, the lollipop derby, the cake walk - and face painting! Julien asked to be a clown, and this is what he ended up with...

Some of you may know that I like to make homemade pizza. It's usually been a weekend thing, because it takes time for the dough to rise, etc. Lately, though, I've figured out that I can get it ready in the morning, rolled out and topped, keep in on the pizza peel in the fridge all day, then slide it onto the pizza stone in the oven when I get home. Comes out very nicely. So, this is what we had for dinner tonight. Jealous?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Reno Rock-N-River Half Marathon

It was perfect weather in Reno for the Rock-N-River Half Marathon - 40's in the morning, to a high of 72, light overcast, barely any wind. Unfortunately, that didn't offer me any excuses for not making my goal time of 1:30:00.

The race start was just downtown by the Reno arch, so I rode my bike the mile and a half downhill and parked about half a block away. Got a little warmup jog in, and a few stretches before I found my friend Amber, who was also running. By that time it was a few minutes away from the start, so we lined up and off we went. Here's the approximate course:

My plan was to go out at about 7 minute miles, then come back in a little faster on the downhill return. I kept pace for about three miles, then slipped back closer to the mid-7's. At the turnaround by the Patagonia warehouse, I was about 2:30 back of where I'd planned to be. I was meeting another friend, Chris, at mile 8 and he was going to pace me back in, so I hoped I could make a little up. Not long after I met him, though, I realized that I wasn't going to be able to push it much; in fact, I barely held on to the pace. The most I could do was fend off someone trying to catch me in the last quarter mile. Ended up finishing at 1:33:33, good for about 34th place (official results haven't been posted yet.) That's a half marathon PR for me, by almost 6 minutes. Amber PR'd, too, finishing under 2 hours in 1:58 something. Nice job!

I'm a little disappointed that I didn't make the time I was shooting for, but at least I still have a goal now. And you learn something about yourself each time you race...

A few pics:

I'm the second runner in this shot; I didn't have the energy to chase down the first guy, but was able to hold off the guy behind me. Didn't realize he was so close. The guy in the white long-sleeve shirt to the left is Chris, peeling off so he doesn't go through the gate. Thanks again, Chris -

For some reason, this shirt makes me look pregnant. Gotta stop wearing it to races. Great picture otherwise - nice shot, Mich!

After the race, getting a big hug from Julien and my mom. Note Sofia's crown in the foreground...

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Book review changes

I'm going to stop posting book reviews here for awhile. I've been using Goodreads in the past few weeks, and am really liking the way it works. I recommend it to anyone who wants to track their reading, share reviews with friends, or find new things to read. Here's the most recent book I've finished, Barkbelly, on the site. I hope some of you sign up, and share what you're reading with me as well.