A long-ago booked marathon was this past weekend and by the time Saturday rolled around, I was already thinking that it was a dreadful idea. Too much on our calendars, too little rest...a recipe for certain disaster.
But add in a late winter storm (early spring?) that arrived in Texas where winter most certainly should have been over with by December and the disaster recipe was fully cooked.
I made it 9.55 miles into the 26.2 course before the icy wind drained all feeling out of my fingers, my head was pounding and I thought I might pass out.
I blame the all-too-recent memories of the Icenado Marathon for my utter collapse. How else can you explain why a normally very stubborn person would so readily agree with the nurse at mile 9 who looked at my red and swollen fingers and suggested I step off the course?
So I was quite glad to see my friend Stacie pull up less than a mile later to cheer for me - I turned her cheer into a ride for the remainder of the race to meet our men at the finish line.
By the way, I was also glad to see her because a few miles earlier I'd seen her, shivering beside her car. The key fob had stopped working and she was locked out of the vehicle. Locked out, unprepared for the wintry blast and a who-knows-how-long-wait to get things fixed.
It wasn't a great day.
Both of our guys were slightly hypothermic by the end of the race. I took some wonderful photos of Kelly bundled in blankets clutching warm saline bags in a slightly-drafty tent (better than the open air and we're oh-so-grateful it was available). I don't think he's like me sharing them.
Two cold men and two women, one slightly depressed woman and the other relieved to not be locked out of a car but still out of sorts, hurried to get on the road.
You see, the storm front that brought a 20-degree drop (in nearly as many minutes) to our race also brought thundersleet, snow and freezing rain deep into the heart of Texas. And we all had to go home.
Kelly and I made it home in just under 7 hours. The drive in normal conditions would have taken us just under 3. Kelly told me I schooled several scared Texas drivers in how to safely navigate uphill icy bridges. I don't know if that's true or not. I just wanted to get home in one piece.
Our friends? As of midday today they were still driving - they stopped to spend the night not far outside of Dallas because the interstate was practically impassable.
But the golden moment of the whole weekend started in the midst of our icy drive home - endless sneezes. After about 2 hours, I told Kelly that I hoped my sneezes didn't mean I was getting sick.
By the time we got home, I knew I was sick.
So that's why I'm here at home, exhausted and miserable, on a week when I really needed both of the days that I was going to be in the office.
I've told myself that I'd do a little work while I'm at home but so far I've had no luck. My eyes are bleary, my nose is raw from blowing and the kitties are insistent that true rest only happens when you hold a kitty.
Though I don't know why I'm apologizing - I gave plenty of warning that I was in a busy season of life.
Anyway, I was out of town for a goodly portion of the week. It's always nice to return home and get back to cooking good food for the good man in your life.
Yes. I baked tacos. And they were delicious - delicious enough to make again and again.
Fully cook your desired fillings (I used refried beans and spicy taco meat). Place taco shells in an oven-safe baking dish and fill. I topped my tacos with new-for-us-to-try queso fresco.
I feel as though I need to take a recipe detour to talk about queso fresco and why I was trying it out. My husband, great and adventurous eater that he is, despises goat milk products of any sort. No chevre. No feta. It's a sad situation for me.
I've been on the lookout for a cheese that might have the same saltiness of a feta but none of the goat milk sourness that makes Kelly gag. I heard that queso fresco had many of the same properties and, in even better news for me, is widely available.
The cheese did indeed crumble nicely and, just to be safe, I had my guy taste a bit before I potentially ruined our dinner with cheese. He proclaimed the flavor to be "AWESOME."
These types of successes really do give me a thrill. And now I can't wait to try making my oh-so-yummy Spinach Feta Pasta with queso fresco as a substitute.
Anyway, fill your tacos:
Bake at 350F for 10 minutes to crisp the shells and melt the cheese.
Top with your favorite cold fillings.
Now I feel the need to try other combinations, like
Kung Pao chicken and cabbage
Spaghetti squash and black beans
Chicken tikka and butter lettuce
Roasted chicken and corn salsa
What combinations would you come up with? (I might just be tempted to try them out!)
Life/work balance isn't a new issue. We've been questioning ourselves and our choices for generations.
The intellect of man is forced to choose
perfection of the life, or of the work,
And if it take the second must refuse
A heavenly mansion, raging in the dark.
When all that story's finished, what's the news?
In luck or out the toil has left its mark:
That old perplexity an empty purse,
Or the day's vanity, the night's remorse.
I suppose we all have weeks where we not only feel we're living day-to-day but minute-to-minute.
That's not necessarily a bad thing - it's a predictable part of life. Times are busy, times are slow. Life is what it is and I find it incredibly helpful to keep basics in mind. Like:
I won't always be this busy.
My spouse, family and friends love me all the same, busy or not.
This, too, shall pass so seize the fun bits where they are.
Fun bits for me this week included a planning meeting that morphed into an informal mentoring session (where I was the recipient of excellent advice). Lunch with a friend. Breakfast with another. Meeting with a new-to-the-working-world woman and hearing her stories of growth since we last met. Crossing five things off my to-do list in one day. Realizing that there are colleagues at my company in different departments who will work incredibly hard to help me out on big projects.
How fortunate I am!!
And that's not to mention that Kelly and I have most unexpectedly found ourselves fellowshipping with our former church on a regular basis. Our roots there are deep - deeper than I knew or could have imagined. Tilling the soil of the soul takes time, and is painful at points, but is so worth the investment. Every Sunday is a special (re)starting point of the week for me.