A dream come true…

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Many years ago, my brother found a recipe online for a cake that looked exactly like a dirty cat box. Because we’re both sick and depraved, we thought it was hilarious and wished we could come up with an occasion to make one. Many friends can attest to the fact that while telling the story of this cake, I would laugh so hard I cried. Flash forward to Halloween 2012 and my lovely husband decided to make one for his office Halloween gathering. Especially hilarious given that he works for a major health/organic supermarket chain and these are the main ingredients:

IMG_3414Mmmmm… chemicals!

The premise of the cake is pretty simple. You make the two cake mixes and then let both cakes cool. Then you crumble them up into a big bowl:

IMG_3417Then you add the instant pudding:

IMG_3419Then you mix that all up and dump into a brand-new/unused cat box:

IMG_3420Now, here comes the best part:

IMG_3427That’s right! It’s time to make the cat poop! You microwave the Tootsie Rolls for a few seconds in the microwave before you form them:

IMG_3431If you are feeling creative, you can mash two of them together and emulate George’s work:

IMG_3429And the end result is so very disgusting:

IMG_3432For the final step, you run the sandwich cookies through a food processor and make crumbs to sprinkle over the “poo”. Here’s T posing with his handiwork:

IMG_3437I couldn’t resist posting it on Instragram, so here’s a vintage shot of the masterpiece:

IMG_3438The reaction at T’s office was a mix of disgust and delight and it was definitely a hit. I’d highly recommend making it for your next special occasion. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jack o’lantern triplet

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T went a little nuts with pumpkins at the produce stand, so it was time to get in the Halloween spirit and carve some pumpkins. Per usual, the boy and I have wildly different approaches to how to carve a pumpkin. His process:

Mine:

The boys were, of course, their usual helpful selves:

I finished mine pretty quickly:

But T had two pumpkins to carve, so he was still wrist deep:

Finally, it was time to put them out on the porch and light the candles:

Oooooh… spoooooky! Hopefully, they’ll hold up until Halloween gets here.

Going coastal

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It’s been quite the whirlwind life we lead these days. Our friends Jenn & Bryan invited a bunch of us out to a friend’s beach house on the Washington Coast. (Bunch = T & I, M (and J, but he couldn’t make it), Erin & David, and Timmion. Plus five dogs. Good thing it’s a big house!) The house was in the town of Seabrooke, which is an odd little planned community/faux town. Each of the houses have names, which are printed on signs on each house. We got there after dark, in the pouring rain, so we didn’t get the full effect until the next morning.

This one was my personal favorite:

Luckily, the sun was out the next morning for a nice walk on the beach:

The beach was really crowded, as you can see. So we let the boys run around off-leash, which was quite a treat for Wally. He was a total butt-hole to Lucky, barking like an idiot, but Lucky is about a million times faster so he would just take off when he’d had enough. And by the end of the session, Wally and Lucky were pretty cool with each other.

We went back to the house for a delicious breakfast, hung out for a little while and then went back out for a run on the beach before the rain started. There was a pretty good-sized group of faster folks, so I kept Wally with me to keep him from overdoing it. Plus, then I got the turbo dog pull effect. It was soooooo nice to run on the nice firm sandy beach, with just the sounds of the ocean to keep me company. Eventually, Wally started lagging and I stopped to give him some water and take a picture of the beautiful blue rain cloud coming in over the ocean:

(Instagram popped the color, but only slightly.) Wally seemed to enjoy his adventure:

We chilled out at the house for a little while, sat in the hot tub (that’s right!), ate some lunch. Then we headed into town (or should I say “town”?) for some browsing. There were only a few stores, including a really nice little pet boutique and we found the worlds most awesome doormat (shown here on our porch):

Right?!! We also happened upon this amazing photo op:

(I particularly love that David and Todd are the Mom & Dad Sasquatch and yours truly is the teenaged boy.) I also caught M eating a “Cadbury Scream Egg”:

We browsed in a book store and had a drink at the pub, so I’d say we saw all the highlights. We even stopped at the little grocery store for a few last supplies. Back at the house, things had really gone to the dogs:

We girls went upstairs and did a clothing swap. (Everyone had brought clothes/shoes/bags they didn’t want any more.) There was lots of great stuff to choose from and it was amazing to see how different pieces looked on different people. A shirt that looked hideous on me would look amazing on Timmion. M scored some amazing boots and I made her pose in them, but Tyr had to photobomb the shot:

Raddest. Picture. EVER!

I scored some great stuff, including some things I never would have tried on my own. I even got some totally “non-me” silver strappy high-heeled sandals. The boy is going to have to take me someplace fancy one of these days!

Then there were homemade potato chips (does this day get any better?!) Jenn kicked it up a notch with some kind of crazy bacon-sour cream dip that was ridiculously amazing.

We ended the evening with a great dinner, lots of wine and an epic Mexican Dominos game. The second half of Jenn’s birthday cake may have been devoured somewhere in here as well, details are a little hazy…

The next morning, there was bacon, T’s bagels, fruit. It was pretty much perfect. Then we all went down to the beach for a final walk/dog romp. The rain was starting, so it wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as yesterday morning, but the boys seemed unfazed:

We accosted asked a nice couple to take a group shot of all of us:

It was such a fun weekend. I always enjoy hanging out with this crowd and am so fortunate to have such a great group of friends. Many, many thanks to Jenn & Bryan for hosting.

Fall running

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As I may have mentioned already, we’ve had an amazingly warm and DRY summer/early fall this year. But we’re starting to get a few rainy days and it’s clear that our nice weather days are numbered. So, on one of my work from home days, I snuck out for a little Green Lake run. Since there was a bit of a chill in the air, I wore my compression sleeves for a little geeky triathlete chic:

Because it was at 2:00 in the afternoon, I had the usually crowded path all to myself. So, I took a few minutes at the end of the run to take some pictures:

I am so lucky to be able to run in such a pretty place! (I’ll have to come back and look at these pictures once the endless rains start… )

The boy takes on the Portland Marathon

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WARNING: This post is going to be very long. But there will be pictures. Many, many pictures.

The big day started very early. (It’s weird to not be the one with pre-race jitters. You sleep much better, but getting up at 0:dark:thirty is much harder… ) Susan was meeting at our hotel at 5:30, so we needed to be up at 5. We had prepped coffee in the room and had oatmeal fixings for breakfast. Susan and T made fun of my desire to document the pre-race experience, so I’m posting this silly picture of them. (Don’t poke the blogger!)

T went about his normal pre-run routine: eating, stretching, what-not. He seemed to have the nerves under control in the room, but all of us started to feel the pre-race energy as we walked downtown. More and more runners joined us on the sidewalk and we passed the start line:

Then what felt like fourteen other corrals (really it was closer to five.) I made us take a pre-race picture before we dropped T off at his corral:

Then it was good-bye to the Boy and off to stake out a spot toward the start line. There was a crazy amount of energy in the air as we waited for the start. Before too long, the wheelchair guys came flying by. Followed by the group that holds the marathon winners.

Then the 3-ish hour crowd:

We were nervous that T would be on the other side of the road and we wouldn’t be able to see him, but we lucked out and here he was:

And off we went! We had about 40-45 minutes to grab some coffee and walk over to the 4.5 mile mark a few blocks away. Luckily, Stumptown’s crappy customer service ate up a bunch of that time for us! 😦 We did still have time to go to Voodoo donuts again. (There was a small line of marathon spectators, which I found hilarious.) By this point, we had to hustle down to the race course, but I was relieved to see one of the faster pace groups pass us. (Side note: munching on a donut while watching other people exert themselves is awesome.) As we waited, we’d occasionally see a spectating friend run alongside their marathoner. I teased Susan that she should do that to T, holding her donut. So, of course, she did! (Much to the amusement of the man standing next to us.) She ran alongside T, offering him a bite of donut. He declined and told her “Shoo! Get away!” which got big laughs.

Here’s Susan and the donut, posing in front of the course. (I love the “WTF?” look from the racers behind her… )

From here, our spectating duties got a bit more hard-core. We went back to the room, picked up our bikes and headed off to mile 12-ish. There was a nice big cheering section, so we locked up our bikes and joined it. T had estimated a time that he’d be coming through, but he was slightly ahead of his projection, so I didn’t manage to get a picture of him. He looked good, but I was worried that he’d taken the first section too fast and that the second half was going to be rough.

A combo of bike and the MAX light rail got us out to Mile 21. The train ran alongside the later miles of the race course, so we got to see the faster folks suffering. Even though there was no way it was possible, I was worried that we’d somehow miss T. (This spectating stuff is hard work!) As we found a good spot to cheer from, people were looking really rough. I was very worried that T was going to be one of them, but he came through looking awesome:

From here, we had one hour to get back to the finish line. I was hoping that we could drop our bikes off at the hotel first, so we had to hustle. Luckily, there was a nice straight route with a good bike lane, so we were able to make it to our hotel in just under half an hour. We then hurried over to the finish area, which turned out to be way more confusing than expected (even with the map provided in the race program.) We ended up squeezing through a fence and going around some barricades and were getting very stressed that we were going to miss him. Finally, we made it to a good spot near the finish line. It was crazy exciting. M and I were texting back and forth and I couldn’t wait to see him finish. Finally, Susan spotted him and I raised my camera to get a picture of him coming down the line:

Only to find that I’d hit the front camera button in my haste. <sad trombone> This is why M is our official race photographer. Luckily, the interwebz have me covered:

The only real complaint that I have about the race is how the finish area is designed. Both racers and spectators had a long walk to be able to meet up. (I’m fine with the long walk on my end, not so much for folks that have just run a marathon.) It wasn’t really clear where their area ended and the “reunion area” began. I didn’t want to miss T and we’d agreed to meet up in the reunion area, so we stood next to our lettered section waiting for him. Finally, we saw him hobbling in our direction, looking shell-shocked and overwhelmed. (I’m all too familiar with that feeling post-race.) But we gave him big sweaty hugs and tried to use confetti popper things that Susan had brought.

We picked up his bag and got him some water. Then made him take some finisher photos:

Susan offered to take some of T and I. There were a few technical difficulties:

(I can’t really throw stones… ) But I really liked this one:

But she got a good one eventually, which I promptly posted on Facebook:

We then parked T on a chair outside the Chipotle and got some lunch. I made him eat some tortilla chips and refilled his water. Then we hobbled the next block and a half to wait for the MAX again. When we finally made it back to the hotel, I filled one of our expo bags from the ice machine for the a post-race ice bath:

And since I have pictures of me and M in our post-race ice baths, I thought it only fair to include T:

We hung out in the room and had some lunch. Poor T wasn’t eating much, but he was drinking a protein shake and some water. Susan headed home and I prodded the boy into a little walk to keep him legs from getting too stiff. I got him a giant fountain Gatorade, some frozen yogurt and a sunny bench to sit on:

We had a few hours to relax before we met up with Luke for some dinner. Our room had a cute button on the phone that you could use to order pillows or pints of ice cream:

Unfortunately, they didn’t seem to have any new legs for T. 😉 But he was a trooper. We’d run into two guys in the lobby who were rocking their finisher shirts and medals, so I urged T to wear his to dinner. Which he did:

We got Luke to wait for an hour to eat at Screen Door, so T could celebrate his race with some guilt-free fried chicken:

There were also many cocktails. It was fun to catch up with Luke. The food (and cocktails) were delicious as always. It was a great way to end an epic day. It was tiring, but I’m so glad I got to sherpa T for his big race and  pay back some of the support he’s given me over the years. He, M and J have set some pretty high standards for spectating and I didn’t even come close to their levels of awesomeness. Maybe by the time he qualifies for Boston… Mwuahahaha!

 

Pre-race hijinks: Portland Marathon countdown edition

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At long last, the big weekend has arrived. The boy is doing a marathon! After this winter’s heartbreak, we’ve both been worried that injury would sideline him again. But he’s been very diligent with stretching and rolling and actually listening to his body for a change, so fingers crossed that will pay off on Sunday. We took the day off of work on Friday, so we could have a nice leisurely drive. We hit up a local bakery for breakfast sandwiches and T got us some breakfast dessert:

(Apparently, I’m sympathy carbo-loading!)

The drive down was unremarkable. And due to our large breakfast, we didn’t stop en route like we normally do. So, we could check out an amazing sandwich place in Portland that T had been hearing rave reviews about:

The place was classic Portland hipster:

But damn, they make some delicious sandwiches:

Should you find yourself in Portland, I highly recommend checking them out. It’s worth the hipster proximity. 😉 We then dropped the dog off at their sleep-away camp. Per usual, they ran off with not so much as a backward glance to play with their pals. (Ungrateful bastards… ) When we got to my parent’s house, we were greeted by full-sized Bingley:

These in-focus images give a false impression of Young Bingely. Most of my pictures of him look like this:

We talked my mom into coming to the race expo with us so that T could pick up his packet and we wouldn’t hav e to deal with it on Saturday. It was fun to expose her to the crazy world of endurance sports. Since we’d registered for this race way back in March, I forgot that I’d had a little fun with the “Name on Bib” field for Todd:

All hail The Todd! 😛

We collected a bunch of free samples, tasted some gross nutrition products and saw some funny shirts at the expo. This one was my personal favorite:

If I didn’t already own a million running shirts, I’d have bought it.

A local running store was giving out free socks, so we stopped by. They had this creepy Prefontaine statue (who, as a Facebook friend pointed out, looks like Will Farrell playing Pre… ) and we got a group photo with it:

Afterward, my mom had the excellent suggestion of going to Voodoo Donuts. They’ve upgraded their location since we were there last, but the line remains the same:

But the new sign is awesome:

Afterward, we hung out at my parent’s house and enjoyed Bingley’s antics:

Give me that rock!

No! (pugs are so special… )

The next morning was nice and leisurely. We hung out at my mom’s and then headed over to check into our hotel, the Hotel Deluxe. T had worked his work connections to get us a sweet room:

Which was good, because he was going to be grounded and resting for the rest of the day:

I walked around Portland (and noticed all of the marathoners who were not in their rooms resting.) The boy was allowed to come out for a brief trip to Whole Foods for dinner and breakfast supplies and then it was an evening of bad TV and an early bedtime. That alarm was going to be going off way too early tomorrow…