Tis The Season For Winter Running Tips!

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As the snow flies throughout North America the running boards on Pinterest are full of blogs with this season’s round of winter running tips. They’re usually pretty good. Layering is pretty much covered, as is staying visible, running with some sort of grip on your feet ( ICE SPIKES!!! ), logging your run with someone, esp. if it’s long or during very bad weather, and making sure you’re hydrated. What I haven’t seen is a post that says “Hey, if you’re going running out there, you should moisturize a good 20 minutes before heading out.” The cold is a cruel, drying, cracking master when it comes to the skin. And Alberta is drier than a lot of places, making it extra super important to add it to your pre run checklist. You want to give your lotion time to sink in and not be wet on your face or hands…it’s pretty nippy if you pop out before it’s soaked into your skin. Brrrrr.

And sunscreen! Wear your sunscreen! It’s still UV-ey out there and you want to avoid sun damage and keep your skin healthy and happy. You could kill two birds and do a moisturizing sun screen. BAM! Nailed it.
Another crucial bit to remember is to leave a little extra time if you have stuff to do afterwards…because winter conditions can bite you in the rump and cost you time. I’m a good 2-4 minutes slower than usual due to the sandy floppy road conditions so I’m booking an extra 5 minutes for due back by time. I hate rushing!

Finally, remember your ID. Because in the winter run dressing flurry of tights, more tights, a shell, running bra, shirt, zip jacket, shell jacket, earphones in, ninja mask on, putting the half mitts (on your jacket sleeve) up and over your thumb, then your gloves ( I’ve got the Nike ones that are gloves with a little mitt overlay and I love them. They’re great for venting and temp.control. ) grabbing your stick ( Yes, you grab your stick…you don’t have a stick? You should totes get one! ) and then doing your sneakers up it’s super easy to leave without your ID. I wear dog tags to keep things simple. I keep them with my keys so I don’t forget. I love the dog tags, it’s not wallety…it’s compact and sensible. I highly recommend if you want to de clutter your run.

Oh yeah, one last tip…I also tuck the cord from my listening device in through my jacket sleeve to keep it from freezing and rubbing back and forth thereby breaking all those tiny wires in the cord.

That’s my addition to the winter running blog tip world!

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If you look up at the top of this pic you can just see the moon, making for a glorious trip in -20 c. Zoom zoom!

That’s it for today…chores are calling me…” button….buuuuuuutton….come clean the house…”
Every time I think I’m out, the chores pull me back in.
“I know it was you Sink Full Of Dishes, you broke my heart…”
( That’s a Godfather/Fredo reference in case you’re like “What is she talkin’ about?”.)

Ola!

A~

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Collage Fever and Hula Hooping!

 

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ACEO fever struck this long weekend, taking the freshly cleaned house from spotless to a hot mess of paper piles, books, magazines, various bits and bobs, paint brushes, glue sticks…all liberally sprinkled throughout the house. Oy vay! What a mashugana! Classic Amy.

Ah well…such is the creative process…it’s timing is often inconvenient! I’ve amassed a large collection to pull from including some great vintage movie magazines, an amazing 1940’s Sears catalogue, some horrific Sears catalogues from the 1970’s and a bunch of old knitting pattern books. I like to pick my lady and then go from there. I call the series of female based pieces “She” and the ornithological  based pieces are a part of my ongoing “Birds” series.

These are all available in the etsy shop.

 

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Other news in the life is I LOVE hula hooping! It is so much fun! I do it everyday for about half an hour.

I started with this hoop. The trick to hooping is start large and weighted and then don’t bail on doing it when you can’t get the hoop to stay up. Just keep picking it up and doing it and before you know it you’ll be hooping!
I’ve since passed the big hoop onto a friend and I’ve moved down to a lighter, smaller hoop which is more of a challenge to keep up. You have to go really fast to not lose it. But that’s the fun, you gotta hoop hardcore to maintain the circle. Woot woot! I’ve made it into a hiit workout by hooping normally for 1 minute and then hooping with my arms up over my head for the next minute. Do that 5 times and you get some great heart rate action. Plus it’s SO FUN. HOOP! Do it. You’ll love it!

That’s it for now…gotta go get a 5 k in and then it’s vegan T Day leftovers. Yum yummy yum yum.

Ciao!

A~

 

 

Run With A Stick, It’s Super Fun.

*awkward silence*

So.

Yeah. No blog post since March. Got busy. Gardening. Relaxing in the sun. Hanging out with buds and baby LanLan! Making vegan smores. You know..summer stuff.

It was nice.

Anyhoo…a story about the next big thing in running (if I have anything to do with it!). When the weather got nice here I stopped running my usual long distance road work and took to doing cross country runs with a hiit protocol. This is the greatest thing ever ( for me anyway). I just LOVE it. It’s an insane rush to run so hard that you feel like puking. It’s really GREAT when you simply can’t do another step but you still do 20 more and then you totally collapse, after crawling your way into some shadow and sitting there for 10 minutes as you recover. Hills are now something I don’t pace myself up…they’re something I friggin’ RACE up. Zoom zoom.

I never got any of these highs when I trained for/did the half by the way. All that distance running was just like a 5 k run, only longer. It was ok, but it wasn’t hard and it didn’t make my brain full of good brain crack like this new running style.

Anyhooo…this leads me to the stick bit. I was running cross country a few weeks, having a good time but still feeling like I was *missing* something, a primal something that took a while to filter down. I needed a stick. To run with. Like my ancient great grandmas had. Something to beat the bears off with! So I took some wood from a 5 year old pile of trimmings down the back alley and then I sort of whacked off all the braches and smashed the sharp bits so they were dull and then I ran with my stick.

Pure.Bliss.

All of a sudden you’re getting all this extra sensory information. Balance is heightened, your pace has more marking due to the swing ( or no swing ) of your arms, your fingers feel the beat of your feet and changes in ground surface. It’s just awesome. I told the hubs and he was doubtful but he was willing to try although he wanted a nicer stick than mine. He made himself a much better stick and went for a run and guess what? He Loved it too! So I went online to look for the special stick you want to commit yourself to for the rest of your running life. AND THERE WERE NO RUNNING STICKS! Crazy. I did find the awesome Kingfisher WoodWorks studio though…they specialize in Japanese bokken and other top notch fighting tools. (I found people on martial arts forums discussing and drooling over the Kingfisher made schwag. People in the know want it baaaaad.) They also make walking staffs and, and here’s where we come in, they do custom staffs! I got the hubs the 46 inch staff and I took a 44 inch staff, the same size as my Running Stick beta.

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Running Sticks V.1

These Kingfisher guys were so nice. They put up with my crazy runner self ( runners will know what I mean…when you’re telling someone the why’s and how’s of why you’re a runner and you kinda go on and on and on…and on…because you’re a running CRACKHEAD.) and, within a few weeks, they sent up the most beautiful, perfect weight, smooth as silk, strong like a mofo Running Sticks. I’ve taken mine out every day since I’ve had it. One day I used it to move a big grumpy scary cat off the path. I’ve knocked snow off bushes (and right onto my head ! Duh.) and I’ve added all sorts of stick work to the hiit work. For instance, I am running as fast as I can run these days. To go faster I’d need to go into professional training, with clean eating and a Coach. Not gonna happen, right?  So now when doing a hill at 100% leg speed I hold the stick up over my head to keep my arms up and pumping even more blood through  the system. BAM. Increased heart rate and better hiit results. I also hold it in both hands horizontally over the waist area and twist back and forth to engage the core more and get a sort of salsa dance feel to bits of the run. And to improve my chi running form I hold it in my right hand straight up, like a maasai runner. You can use it to do all sorts of shoulder and core stretches and it will also support you as you’re bent double nearly barfing from hiit hill runs in a warrior style.

It’s just the greatest thing ever. So now we have these beautiful, sacred feeling pieces of art to attend us on our running practice. If you’re looking to swank up your run and connect with your inner ancient running self, get a random stick and give it a go. And when you see how awesome it is buy a custom stick ( or a bokken…mmmm….Kingfisher bokken…) from the nice fellas at Kingfisher.

This is my gift to the running world.

<insert wild eyed runner grin here

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We just got 30 centimeters of snow so the garden is a hawt mess but I’ll try to blog again once or twice before 2015.

Sorry Dear Reader for the spotty writing over the year…summer here is SO short here you just have to grab it by the horns and be outside running and gardening and making babies cry!

Pax,

A~

March Came In Like A Freakin’ Frozen Lion Mr.Bigglesworth!

Sweet Mother of all that is Holy. It’s cold up here in the foothills! I ran alone on Sunday ( too chilly for the hubs! ) and it was the coldest run I ever did. I’m going to guess that when the wind really got going it was probably -38 to -40. I had to put the hood on my shell up over top of my ninja mask and that’s never happened before. It’s best to lather yourself up with some sort of lotion before you go out because the wind will dry your skin out in a flash. It’s just harsh. And it’s also kind of great. People driving by in their cars and trucks just STARE at you like you’re a total freak. It’s very potent. Yeah…I’m hardcore. I’m WAY hardcore.Heh heh. I’m not really. You just gotta dress up right and it’s pretty much just like any other run. If you a runner who doesn’t run outside in the winter I recommend giving it a go. I figure I’ll be winter running until maybe Mid April. So it’s a good thing I like it!

Now, let’s quickly take a boo at what’s off the button press…

My shout out to True Detective’s Rust Cohle character. Image

I’ve read a lot of critiques about the show saying it’s misogynistic but I think it’s *about* misogyny, and not in a “isn’t it great to depress, use, abuse, enslave, cheat on and murder” women kind of way. It’s a crime drama version of Louis CK’s reflection on how dangerous men are to women. There’s a sad, frustrated humanity about the show that it appeals to my pessimistic nature. It’s good when we look in the mirror. Awareness is the first step to making bad things better. That idea seems to be what will drive the two main characters into whatever their finale is…they have acknowledged their failures and they will try to make amends.  As a bonus for me, it’s a green tinged program…like, literally green tinged in a good 80% of the scenes. And I like green…it creates a really dreamy, intensive vision that is almost hypnotic. It’s sort of the opposite of Steven Soderbergh’s use of blue tinting in many of his films. Blue tinting always makes me hyper aware that what I’m watching is in no way real. I can’t connect and get lost in the storytelling in blue tinted films or tv. With this greening of the scenes in True Detective it’s easy to feel pulled into the conversations, the rooms and the characters themselves. It’s bloody brill!

Anyhoo…all that talk about misogyny and that asshat that left the note for the female pilot on his airplane seat the other day (telling her women shouldn’t be pilots, they oughta be at home in the kitchen yadda yadda yadda)  made me create this piece…Image

I wanted to say “Hey, men who do their best to fight rape culture, encourage the education of girls and women, support equal pay, stand up for a woman’s reproductive rights and through all those and other various actions, free themselves from the effects on men via the patriarchy are the men that I hold in high regard and enjoy spending time with.” 

And finally it’s time for fresh comics for a fun filled wedding! The last set sold out to a super nice Mama whose seeing her last baby get hitched this summer. Mazel Tov! Good Things! Image

 

And that’s it for today. I’ve got to go stoke the wood stove. Because it’s March. In Southern Alberta…

*sigh*

Waves!

A~

Hoarders – The Seitan Edition

This year marks my 20th year without consuming the flesh of my fellow earth beasts. I’ve had a lot of nuts and beans since then…I make a mean chili and a darn good curry but sometimes you want something other than tofu in your asian inspired dishes. Hence, the seitan. This strange but yummy protein is still available at the Superstore, hopefully it will be for years to come. Every now and again when the hubs has business in the city he drops by and grabs a dozen cans depending on what is on the shelves. This time he bought 24 cans! 24 CANS! Awesome sauce!

You give it a little bit of a fry and then you can make a yummy Vietnamese sub sammy with a whole wheat crusty roll with some grated carrots and cucumbers and a schwack of cilantro and some hot sauce. Best sammy in the world, imho. I also make a nice veggie and noodle soup and right before I serve it I drop some seitan nuggets on the top with some chopped peanuts and cilantro. Tres bon!

You can also make a heap of fried rice and veggies with this stuff in it and then you use the leftovers rolled up in a spring roll wrapper the next day. So.Good.

Once in a pinch I even used it in a “beef” stroganoff and it was worked a treat. So…behold once again, my hoard of weird food items.

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On other news fronts I heard from my gallery that my “Chinook Honey Bee Queen” painting sold last month. So that is awesome.That was a work I made after the nice lady working the counter at Chinook Honey’s store counter told us that the Queen had left the hive that is *in* the store ( it’s contained in a plexiglass wall with a bee tube leading outside) when the hive got too full but instead of flying off into the sunset she plopped to the ground as she was too fat to fly. Half the hive came out and swarmed around her bringing the bee keeper around to see what all the fuss was about. They had to move her to a new location since she wasn’t going to be able to wing it on her own. How cute is that? I’d post a pic of that piece but I accidentally deleted that photo folder. Way to go Ohio! Image

 

I’ll post this painting instead…they were made at the same time so they’re they’re cousins of a sort. This is a Snake Charmer who now resides in Praha aka Prague with some other works I made in 2013. It was a good year for paintings last year. I should get on it again and put in another bulk order of boards to work on. (She says ignoring the 3 paintings waiting to be completed in the studio!) No rest for the weary!

And now Dear Reader, we lace up our shoes and throw on our layers and go for our Sunday run.Thanks for dropping by! Stay warm out there.
A~

Working For A Living!

The button press is all heated up from constant making these days! I’ve had a few fun custom orders from Brides to be…including one sweetheart from a family of optometrists! It was super fun finding just the right vibe for her big day. I can’t help but get excited making wedding schwag. WEDDINGS! They’re awesome. It’s soon to be 20 years since Mr.Totally Awesomepants and I said “I do” so I speak from experience.

Anyhoo…here’s a glimpse at what’s come off the press lately…

For sale on our etsy shop are these like, totally cool yearbook buttons from the 80’s.

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And then we designed this fun lot of Birds and Bees badges for the sweet vintage feeling that is all the rage these days. Viva la country wedding! These will be a limited run…at least in this shade, as they are done on some very vintage manila paper I scored a week ago at the thrift store. Schweet!

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And finally, made fresh this very morning, it’s one hundred awesome pieces featuring London, England and it’s many attractions.

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All are available for purchase as of this minute in our etsy shop.

On other fronts, Huzzah for Chinook Arch winds! Today’s running outfit was a single layer affair on the bottom and just a light jacket and shell on top. I got hot enough to ditch the hat even. Good stuff after 3 weeks of bitter cold runs where I’ve been layered up like the little brother in A Christmas Story.

The tomatoes are coming along nicely…all have been repotted in pretty containers and now the little window greenhouses are fully dedicated to annual flowers, including some fancy decorative corn and purple millet. I CAN’T WAIT FOR SPRING! Eeeeeeee.

Thanks for dropping in Dear Reader.

Have a great week,

A~

Hoarders: The Hot Sauce Edition

I DO NOT HAVE A  HOT SAUCE PROBLEM!

Well, I do have a hot sauce problem…and this problem is that the local grocery store stopped carrying Matouks West Indian Hot Sauce when they lost their supplier.
So I had to resource the second best thing, the Nu Pak West Indian Hot Sauce from the nearest Superstore. But then, those guys got all gentrified and they stopped carrying lots of their “ethnic” foods, including the Nu Pak sauce.

CRISIS!

I’ve been hooked on this tart and yummy burning stuff for more than a decade, starting with Calgary’s long gone but never forgotten Island Experience restaurant, where I first made the acquaintance of the firey delight known as Matouks. They charged 50 cents for a little tiny side of it. But who cares? FOR TONIGHT WE DANCE!

Anyhoo…fat story thin…I’ve found the elusive Matouks at ye old local Bulk Barn! Huzzah! And so Dear Reader, let us ladle out the chick pea curry with roasted taters and drown our sorrows in scaldingly hot sauce! We might as well…it seems it will never stop snowing here so I need something to get me through to gardening season.

Behold…my shame, my love, my hoard, my sauce…

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I figure it will last me until…oh…mid May. It’s so, so good. I like it on crackers too.

<has a hot sauce problem for sure

Hope all is going saucily with you Dear Reader!

A~