The life and times of me. Also known as: My quest to become more awesome.

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I love fall. It is by far my favorite season. The colors, the weather, the smells; I love everything about it. My favorite thing to make in the fall and winter is soup. I usually make a pot of it every Sunday so that I can take it for lunch all week long. Today, I made chipotle sweet potato soup.

Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup
adapted from Marin Mama Cooks

ingredients
2 tablespoons oil
1 red onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coarse salt
6-7 sprigs of cilantro, tied together with string
2 chipotle chiles in adobo, diced + a spoonful or two of the adobo sauce
3 decent sized sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
8 cups of vegetable broth

garnishes:
tortilla chips
lime wedges
avocado

instructions

Put the oil, onion, garlic, cumin, salt, and cilantro in a large pot and turn the heat to medium.

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Stir occasionally until the onion softens, but not browns. Add the sweet potatoes and chiles and stir to combine.

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Add your vegetable broth and turn the heats up to high, stirring occasionally. Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat to medium and let it simmer until the potatoes are soft (test this by piercing them with a fork). When the potatoes are soft, remove them from the heat, remove the cilantro and discard it, and blend your soup until it is smooth. Taste it and add salt to you liking. I used my immersion blender (I LOVE that thing) but a regular blender will do just fine as well. If you use a regular blender, make sure you only ever fill it halfway. That soup will be HOT and the steam can force the top of your blender off if you’re not careful. Keep this warm until you are ready to serve.

I served this with tortilla strips (I had some corn tortillas that I needed to use up so I fried them up myself but store bought tortilla chips would be a much easier alternative), diced avocado, and lime wedges. I meant to put some chopped cilantro on there too but I forgot. It would be a delicious addition.

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This turned out really well. I’ll absolutely make it again. It had just the right combination of silky-sweetness from the potatoes and smokey heat from the chiles. Try it out and let me know what you think!


I know what you’re thinking. Two months and nothing. And now you just show up and think we can just start back up like you never disappeared?!

Well. It’s true; I disappeared from the blog for a while. Too long. I don’t have any good excuse except pure laziness. So kill me. It happens. But I’m back now! I can’t promise I’ll be posting nightly or anything but I am going to be making an attempt to post much more often than once every two months.

So. What is there to catch up on? Well, I finished my first marathon! My official time was 4:41.45. I’m so happy I did it. I didn’t walk right for four days afterwards but it was worth it. It’s such an awesome feeling of accomplishment.

So here’s how it went: I started off at a decent pace (just under 11 minute miles). I was chatting with a woman I met at the beginning of the race. She was running her first half. I stuck with her for the first couple of miles. Then we hit an incline and she slowed down and I didn’t want to so I went on my way. FORESHADOWING: I probably should have stayed with her a while longer. Anyway, I felt great. I ran the half course last year so it was all very familiar. I sort of slacked off in my training a year ago and then crashed and burned during the race (cockiness on my part) so every time I saw something I remembered from last year, I also remembered how rotten I felt from mile 8 on. And so I was so happy to feel as strong as I did this year in the same spots. I felt unstoppable at the halfway mark. Un. Stop. Able. That was not very long-lived. By the time I got to mile 15 I was starting to hurt. By mile 17, all I could think was “Oh my god. I still have to run 9 more miles. oh. my. god. What have I gotten myself into?! Motherf*#@&?.” And so on. When I rounded a corner somewhere around mile 18.5, I was in pain. And then I realized that I would be running head-first into the wind for the remainder of the race. For those of you keeping track, that meant 7.5+ miles straight into the wind that was coming off of the river. I’d rather run up and down hills all day long than endure wind like that. Wind is the devil. At least when running. Anyway, from then through mile 24 or 25 I had to stop and walk quite a bit. Even that started to become challenging though, as every time I stopped to walked, it was exponentially harder to start running again. Somewhere between miles 24 and 25 I just resolved to keep running no matter how slow I was going. This is because I was worried I’d be unable to start back up again. But hey. Then I saw mile market 25. And I thought to myself what I always say to my running partner towards the end of runs. “It’s just a mile. It’s nothing. You can run a mile with your eyes closed.” So I went. And then there was mile marker 26 (I lied to myself at mile 25. I had 1.2 miles left; not just one). And when you cross mile market 26, you can see the finish line. And suddenly you want to beat everyone you can see around you to that finish line. So you reach deep down into yourself and muster up any energy you have left. And you sprint. Or maybe in my case it wasn’t an all out sprint in the purest sense of the word but it was just about everything I had left. I almost cried. And then, just like that, I was a marathoner. Amazing.

As soon as it was over, I told JW that I wanted to stick with half marathons. I said I might like to do another full someday but that maybe I was better suited for the half distance. Now I’m two and a half weeks removed from it and I’m wondering when I’ll do my next one. I want to do better. I want to pace myself better (those miles between 3 and 14 – turns out when I was feeling so unstoppable I was going way too fast to sustain). I want to be able to finish without thoughts of how lovely it would be to lay down in the gravel on the side of the road. Also, training for a half now seems so short. I really loved the super long runs when I could listen to a podcast or music and just clear my mind and go.

It’s funny because I’ve been running for a little over two years now but I haven’t really ever thought of myself as a runner. I don’t know why. I guess I just thought of it as something I did; not something I was. But I was wrong. It is something I am. I am a marathoner. I am a runner.


Sometimes I conduct polls amongst my friends. I guess I just like hearing people’s opinions about the random things that happen to pop into my head. Today’s poll was this: If you were a professional baseball player, what song would you choose to play when you were going up to bat? My answer was “Heat of the Moment” by Asia. Duh. What else would I pick? Here are some other answers from my friends on Facebook:
“Whatever” by Godsmack
“Gimme Dat Nut” by Eazy E (hahahaha)
“My Walking Stick” (I’m assuming he is referring to the Leon Redbone version although he could have been referencing Louis Armstrong too, I suppose)
The theme from Space Jam
“Hit Me With Your Best Shot” by Pat Benatar
“My Hero” by Foo Fighters
“Thunderstruck” by ACDC

I might also choose the intro to “My Name is Jonas” by Weezer because it rocks. “Generator” by Bad Religion was also one I considered but I think there are too many f-bombs in it.

So what song would you choose to be your at-bat song (assuming you happened to be a pro baseball player)? Do you think of random questions to annoy your friends with too?


Happy 4th of July! Have fun setting all of the fire crackers you want off tonight!

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Except DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT fire any guns off into the air. It’s dangerous and stupid. But hey, go nuts with the fire crackers. Like this guy is getting ready to do.


JW and I went out I get a bite to eat earlier and when we got home, a dude from one set of WT neighbors was across the street trying to fight a different dude from a separate set of WT neighbors. They were yelling about someone being a heroin addict and people needing to get off of their property. I couldn’t tell you who was who because I find it hard to tell them apart. Then Older Lady WT (my very least favorite of all of my hillbilly neighbors – she is just the worst) from across the street to join in the fun. I believe the “heroin addict” is her nephew. She was wasted. JW said he was going to call the cops so she started screaming profanities at him too. Meanwhile, the two who were trying to fight both took their shirts. Shit was getting real, yo. The police finally showed up and were forced to push Older Lady WT’s nephew to the ground, TWICE, and then she tried to get involved too and one of the officers had to pin her to the hood of the police car. Nephew was cuffed by this point and she was just put into the back of one o the squad cars. I went in the house and JW stuck around to speak with the cops. After it was all said and done, no one was arrested because “They’d just be out in a couple of hours anyway. The jails are overcrowded.”

Sigh. I can’t wait to move out to the middle of nowhere.

But hey, I was lamenting earlier about our lack of television. So at least I got a little real-life drama!


I had an awesome day today. This morning JW and I went to the horse track and bet on a few horses in the Kentucky Derby. Then we came home and I planted some annuals in our window box and a small bed we have in the corner of our yard. I cleaned up the house and then we went to have some beers and watch the derby. One of my horses won! We’re still having some beers and hanging out so here is the following picture. It’s from the internet. You’re welcome.

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Today I contacted one of the candidates for city council here in Cincinnati about volunteering for his campaign. I emailed his volunteer coordinator and signed right up! I’m so excited. Seriously – so stinkin’ excited!

I’ve looked for things to volunteer for ever since I moved here. I’m a Cincinnatian now and I’ve always wanted to feel like a part of something here. There certainly isn’t a shortage of things to volunteer for and I did try a few of them out but none of them felt like quite the right fit. Until now.

I started following this candidate on Twitter because of a tweet I saw from a local food truck owner saying she was meeting with him. I’m interested in food trucks and a follow a lot of them. I like to keep an eye on regulations and things that are going on with them in the city so I thought it would be good to follow someone who supports them and is running for office. I started seeing his tweets and I read a couple of interviews he had given and read some of his blog posts. And I started to get interested in his campaign.

His name is Mike Moroski. And the more I read about him and his ideas, the more I found that I could really get behind his campaign. I tend to get sort of riled up when it comes to politics, especially when those who I might not agree with say things that I perceive to be outrageous. I understand that some things I believe may be outrageous to others as well (although I don’t think of myself as terribly extreme in my beliefs). But this guy is just so positive. And he just seems to genuinely want Cincinnati to be a great city. And I can get behind that.

I don’t have much planned with them until the end of June when I’ll be walking in the pride parade with their group. But I’m so excited to get involved with this. It will be an awesome opportunity to meet other people and to get to know my city better. Here is a video about why he is running for city council and why he loves this city. I find it to be so inspiring. Maybe you will too!