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evening run: Nike vs Adidas

I went out for a little 5-miler today. The Adidas campus is about 2.5 miles from my house, so its one of my regular running routes… there and back for 5 miles.

Although, of course, it is private property and meant only for Adidas employees, its easy to forget that, because it sortof has the feel of a public park mixed with the feel of a college campus. People are just hanging out in the center courtyard, there’s a field where most often there’s a soccer game going on, or football, or something. Tennis courts, a gym, the Adidas company store.  I’ve run with some running groups that often pass through the campus, stop for a stretch there, have a drink of water from the fountain, people-watch, and cross through, taking the pedestrian bridge over Greeley, which is a good way to get over the busy street and continue your run.

I went there tonight on my run, and stopped at the campus as my turn around point. Stopped and looked around a bit. They are actually in the middle of renovating their field so there was construction going on. So I was just hanging out there, you could see people up in their offices working. Then I looked down at myself, and realized I was dressed head to toe in Nike clothing.

So then I immediately felt bad being there,  turned my head in embarrassment, and started my journey home.


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4-month summary of Smith and Bybee Lakes

Back in October is when I decided to do this project. I decided to visit a place regularly and document the changes that take place over the year. Smith and Bybee Lakes is one of my favorite places to visit, since it is beautiful, a great way to enjoy nature in the middle of the city, and a great birdwatching location. I plan to visit once a month and photograph the images from the same spots each time.  Since it’s been 4 months now I felt like doing a summary photo collage to capture it all. This has been an exciting project for me. I look forward to the rest of the year.

There is a little gravel path that leads you down to a great viewing spot of Smith Lake.

on the path to Smith lake 10.31.11

on the path to Smith Lake 11.26.11

on the path to Smith Lake 12.26.11

on the path to Smith Lake 01.28.12

Here are some images of Smith Lake:

Smith straight on 10.31.11

Smith straight on 11.26.11

Smith straight on 12.26.11

Smith from a different spot due to flooding 01.28.12

Smith looking left 10.31.11

Smith looking left 11.26.11

Smith looking left 12.26.11

There is a  nice little spot to look out over some water in between the two lakes:

in between 10.31.11

in between 11.26.11

in between 12.26.11

in between 01.28.12

looking left 10.31.11

looking left 11.26.11

looking left 12.26.11

looking left 01.28.12

There is a paved path that takes you through a cottonwood forest, and leads down to Bybee Lake:

path to Bybee 10.31.11

path to Bybee 11.26.11

path to Bybee 12.26.11

path to Bybee 01.28.12

trees on the path 10.31.11

trees on the path 11.26.11

trees on the path 12.26.11

trees on the path 01.28.12

Here is Bybee Lake:

Bybee 10.31.11

Bybee 11.26.11

Bybee 12.26.11

Bybee 01.28.12

Bybee looking right 10.31.11

Bybee looking right 11.26.11

Bybee looking right 12.26.11

Bybee looking right 01.28.12

There is this little tucked away area between some trees, near Bybee Lake:

little hidden spot 10.31.11

little hidden spot 11.26.11

little hidden spot 12.26.11

little hidden spot 01.28.12

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birdwatching day at Smith and Bybee Lakes, Jan 28, 2012

It was 33 degrees this morning when I left to go out to Smith and Bybee Lakes. It was 41 by the time I got home, so it warmed up considerably while I was there. It was a nice day, partly hazy, partly clear. There was absolutely no wind. Completely still. It was very quite out there today.

We’ve recently had a light snow, then the snow melted, followed by days of downpour. So Portland has a lot of water in it right now. Our rivers are really high. Smith and Bybee Lakes were totally overflowing. There was so much water there.

I like to take pictures from the same spots each time I visit, in order to really document the changes that happen over the year. I could not even get out to Smith Lake. The path was so flooded over. So I got some pictures of the flooded out path, but was not able to take pictures of Smith Lake like previous.

As I was standing there gaping at all the water, two Bald Eagles flew overhead. They soared by, then separated, then both disappeared behind trees.  As I walked down the road towards the path to Bybee, I spied a Red Tailed Hawk up in a tree. So I stopped and watched him awhile. He then took flight over to another tree, and there was one of the Bald Eagles sitting in that tree.  The Hawk and the Eagle “cacked” and wing-flapped at each other a bit. The Eagle stayed put, and the Hawk ended up perching on the a branch on the other side of the same tree. Their backs were to each other, about 10-15 feet apart. Each looking out in the opposite direction.

Most of the waterfowl out there today were mallards, coots, and wood ducks. I saw a totally strange duck in a group of mallards. It looked like a mallard, except that it had a huge, uneven white patch on its front chest, up its neck a bit, partially on its face. I don’t know if that was some sort of albino-ism, or birth-mark type of anomoly.  I saw quite a few duck pairs flying overhead, but I can’t identify them like that.

I also saw a large flock of what looked like house finches. Except that none of them had any red on them. I thought the males always had some red, even during non-mating season. I found it odd none of them had red. Unless the females tend to flock together without males at this time of year. ?? I have no idea. If anyone knows please let me know. Or maybe it wasn’t a house finch at all, and something else that I’ve never seen. I’ve gone thru my bird books and don’t know what else it could be.

Bird list for today:

  • coot
  • bald eagle
  • red tailed hawk
  • golden crowned sparrow
  • canada goose
  • mallard plus weird mallard
  • gadwall
  • american wigeon
  • scrub jay
  • song sparrow
  • red winged blackbird
  • towhee
  • cedar waxwing
  • chickadee
  • heard a kingfisher constantly. kept looking for it but never saw it.
  • great blue heron
  • wood duck
  • ruby crowned kinglet
  • gull
  • cormorant
  • bewicks wren
  • marsh wren
  • brown creeper
  • robin
  • hairy woodpecker
  • hermit thrush
  • maybe house finch or something else
  • also a lot of ducks far off in the distance that I couldn’t see well. I didn’t have my scope with me and they were too far away.


Weekly running summary: and now also weekly workout summary

End of Week 4 of my running plan, and end of Week 1 of my new workout plan.

It’s been a great week, and as of yesterday I actually feel normal and healthy again. It’s so nice to not be sick.

So I got back into a running routine. I also decided I had a huge lack of focus in what I was doing, and got off to a really slow start with a running plan. What I decided to do is start a strength training program. For a long time I’ve wanted to add in weight lifting/strength training to my running routine, I just never knew how.  My visits to the gym have always been totally random, rare, and without any real goals.

Last summer I bought the P90X series, I had found a used set of discs for a pretty low price. It was too good a price to pass up.  I started trying it out last July but totally failed, because I was running too much and I found it completely impossible to commit to a full strength training program while in the middle of a marathon training program.  But this week, I’ve dusted off the DVDs, and thought I’d give it a whirl.

I figured this is a good time to do it, since I’m not  training for any particular running race or have any specific running goals right now. So I can focus on building some lean muscle and getting in better shape, which will help my running down the road.

P90X is pretty well known by most people around the country, but for those of you who haven’t heard of it, it’s basically a 12-week program made up of a bunch of exercise DVDs. It claims to get you in the best shape of your life.

I’m doing a modified version of the program. I’ve cut out the Kenpo/Karate workout and the Plyometrics workout. I modified it so I could also fit in some running, and I’ll run on the days I would normally do the workouts I cut out.  My plan is to do the program and still run 3 times a week, for a low mileage base of about 15-20 miles a week. I also plan on doing the program for 10 weeks.   This will take me to about mid-April, which, coincidentally is the time when all the local 6-month marathon training programs begin, since the Portland Marathon is in October.  🙂  So I figure I’ll build some good, lean muscle, get in shape, and build a low base of miles, ready to decide if I’ll train for the marathon again, which I am leaning towards doing, but still undecided.

So here’s my running summary for the week:

Tuesday I did 4.6 miles through the neighborhood. The route is a loop I do regularly. I like it because the first mile is uphill, the second mile downhill, you loop around a bit, then the third mile is uphill, the last mile downhill.  For some reason I just really like that up/down thing.

Thursday I did the same loop, just due to my not feeling like figuring out somewhere else to go.

Saturday (today) I went out for 6 miles. I ran from my house out to University of Portland, which is about 3 miles, then turned around and came back.  This is also a favorite route of mine. It passes thru a really nice neighborhood. One of the things I enjoy about running is checking out all the houses, the architecture, the decorations, how people do their yards, etc. The nicer neighborhoods are fun since people have such nice houses and such well-manicured yards. The route also has about a mile along the Willamette bluff, with a nice view. You can see downtown, the Fremont bridge, and all the industry and docks down on Swan Island. Its a popular running path, walking path, lots of people out walking their dogs, lots of bicyclists, lots of runners, and of course all the college athletes run there since its right off the campus. So it’s always nice being out and seeing everyone out enjoying the day.

Total miles for the week: 15

And here’s my P90X summary for the week:

Sunday I did the weigh in, measurements, and pre-program photos, etc. If that isn’t enough to destroy your self-esteem, then doing the first workout surely will.

Monday I did the chest and back workout, and the abs workout. I’m still sore from this today.

Wednesday I did the shoulders and arms workout, and the abs workout.

Friday I did the Yoga dvd. I actually think this one is the most difficult to do. I’ve never done yoga before and somehow found it really hard. It also hurts my knees.

Saturday (today) tonight I plan on doing the legs and back workout, and the abs workout. I’ll do those later tonight.

Have you ever tried the P90x program? or know someone else who has? What was their experience with it?


Almond Cookies recipe

I’ve always loved almond cookies growing up. And while I do enjoy the store-bought, packaged cookies, nothing beats homemade.

I’m making some right now. Tonight I’m having a dinner party for Chinese New Year, and this will be our dessert.

I sort of made up the recipe, loosely based off another basic cookie recipe, in order to make it gluten free. I don’t need to eat gluten free, but some of my dinner guests do. I always think gluten free cooking is fun because it’s a challenge. Anything with a challenge has a bit of fun and adventure attached.  If you use soymilk or soy-creamer instead of the half-and-half, it would also make a nice vegan cookie recipe.

Gluten-Free Almond Cookies

  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup roughly chopped almonds
  • 2 Tablespoons half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 3 cups almond  meal flour
  • 1-1/2 cups brown rice flour

Mix the sugars, salt, and shortening really well.

Mix in the almonds, half-and-half, extract, and water.

Mix in the almond meal flour.

Mix in the rice flour.

The dough should be pretty sticky, to the point you no longer want to use a mixing spoon and you just knead it with your hands.

Roll into small balls, place on cookie sheet and flatten slightly.  Top with sliced almonds

Bake 350 for about 15-16 minutes.


weekly running summary: can you even call this a running summary?

End of week 3 now.

Monday was a great day. It was nice out. Since it was the MLK holiday I had the day off work. Normally I do my runs afterwork but I actually prefer to run in the morning. So whenever I don’t work I get to run in the morning so it always starts my day out on a good note. Monday I did a nice 6 miles through the neighborhood.

By Tuesday I was dead to the world. The little cold/flu bug that was creeping on last week developed into a full fledged, nasty stomach flu.  I missed work and was in bed for 3 days straight. I think I was awake a total of, maybe, 3 hours in that time? As of yesterday still not full strength back, and stomach is still hit-and-miss as far as nausea goes.

So…. weekly mileage a whopping 6 miles.

I’m actually feeling decent today, but not running today.

Looking forward to this coming up week where I think I’ll be well enough again to put in some miles.



Dove hat pattern

Its kind of a dreary day today. Raining off an on, light snow flurries off and on. I don’t have to work today, and I’m not feeling too well.  So it was the perfect day to sit around the house not doing much, and trying out some new hat patterns.

This is a crochet hat with a lacy, ruffled look. Use light weight yarn. I had some left-over baby yarn laying around so used that.  Find the pattern here dove hat pattern

I’ve named this pattern Dove pattern. I name all my patterns after birds, just because I love birds so I think that’s fun.  Doves are delicate, feminine creatures, and this hat is also a delicate, feminine hat.

mourning dove