Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Hidden Stash

My morning started out well enough: Bryce had come into bed with us around 4:30, which meant I have been awake since 4:30. This is ok, though, because it is very comforting to have 2 of my favourite people snuggled in so close and safe. The biggins were missing, but they've had their turns already...
So I was outta bed at 5:15, made coffees, and finished watching "Running", starring Michael Douglas.
What a great movie! I had never heard of it and just happened to stumble across it Sunday while scoping out the movie channels (which will be my undoing as colder weather approaches!) I found it sad to watch the movie, seeing Michael in perhaps the best shape of his life, knowing that he is now perhaps in the worst shape of his life. After the movie finished (I only had 10 minutes left!), I surfed around and found a documentary about some Olympic Athletes from the 2004 Athens Summer Games. It was toward the end and they were interviewing a female sprint cyclist, the ones who go round and round on the Roller Derby track. Massive Thighs. Holy Crap. So when THAT was done I bounced around again and landed on Prefontaine (do i really need a link here? nah.), but they were already at the Olympics, so I turned it off. Will have to check and see about recording it some day. OR....(hint hint) someone could get it for me as a b-day or Christmas gift. Just sayin'. Anyway..
So it started out to be a good day. Then something happened while I was at work, somewhere around 9:45, and my day went to Hell in a handbasket. Not from a productivity standpoint, but more from a mental outlook standpoint. I was getting stuff done, but just didn't give a rat's ass crap about it. I snuck out of the office to run an errand, and after that snuck home to see the fam. Mike was home from school, which lifted my spirits, but I didn't get to see him 'cause he was holed up in that cave he calls a room downstairs studying. I miss seeing him around.
So I went back to work. Slogged through the rest of the day, sat in on 2 conference calls, helped a friend with her school project (reviewed, commented via email), created some database forms and reports, and daydreamed (daydreamt?) about being outside. Which was easy to do since I have positioned my monitor so that  I can see out the window. That is, I can see out the window until my gum-chomping-heavy-sighing-moaning-and-groaning office mate decides to CLOSE THE BLINDS. What? Yep. You read that right. But enough complaining about things I cannot change.
In a few minutes I will change my clothes and go run on the dreadmill for a while. Can't decide how long I'll go, so I'll just let my legs determine that. A BIG HEYOOOOH! thank you shout out to Tracey for being so fexible and supportive of my hobby.
One fun thing I did do today was to take a picture of my 'stash'. Does anyone else have a stash like this?

Don't forget to enter my One Sweet Giveaway!! (scroll down)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

accountability

In reviewing my postings lately, I haven't really talked much about running. Whoops. Food and product reviews, yes. Running? Meh.
But this week i started running again. Two days in a row, and it was great. Ran in the woods again, too. I like this trail system (not the same one as the 5ks last week), but the beginning is just like running up a cliff for the first half mile. talk about getting your butt handed to you. I make deals with myself.
"ok. just keep running until that "no trespassing" sign. then walk. but don't stop moving."
"alright. this time, we're (i run alone) gonna run until the grass in the middle of the road is gone."
"almost there. pretend that Tracey is waiting at the top with no top (sorry!) an ice cold NUUN. And a ventilator. How'd she get that up here? Gotta hand it to her, she's pretty crafty!"
Once I get to the top of this hill, there is really nothing left to do but go down the other side, run around a mostly empty pond, and then head back UP, then cruise down. The 'back side' of this run is kinda spooky. I feel like I am in the middle of nowhere. You know, as in 'even if i needed to yell for help (what? no more GU?), no one would hear me anyway. Yea, kinda feel like Ripley out there. Or Bishop. But not when he gets cut in half. More like when he is doing that thing with the knife and that dude's fingers. (huh? Alien.)
Where was I? Oh, right. Space. I often expect (hope) to see deer out there, but have only seen chipmunks and squirrels (POINT! I mean POINT!). I think that the smarter wildlife can feel my heart trying to pound its way through my sternum soon after I start up the hill, so my chances of actually seeing any are slim to none, and slim just left for Kona.
Here's the elevation profile of Tuesday's run. Monday's was just up to the top of the first hill, then back down again. One day I hope to have the ability (endurance) to make it twice around. I suppose that I could do it tomorrow if I wanted to, but I have trouble allowing myself the time. The above run only took me around 43 minutes.  So lets say 90 minutes to do it twice. I need to re-read Barefoot Neil Z's post...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

One Sweet Giveaway!

Welcome to my first ever give away! Thank you very much for being a follower-reader-commenter over the past year or so. I have been a weener of a few giveaways, and want to give back, so without further ado...
Welcome to Gene's Real Vermont Maple Syrup Giveaway!!!!

I have in my possession ONE QUART of 100% Pure, Organic, Friend Made, Real Vermont Maple Syrup. Follow the simple instructions located in this posting, and you can have it. Soon, you may be enjoying the healthy taste of 100% Real Vermont Maple Syrup on your pancakes! Does life get much better? No.
A good friend of mine and her husband (and their extended family) run a sugar house in a town just south of ours here in Vermont. They started is as a hobby a few short years ago, and it has since pretty much become her passion, behind her wonderful kids (and husband!). Their daughter just started running X-C this fall. Her first race was at Thetford Academy, host to some of the toughest X-C trails and races this side of the Mississippi. Seriously. She did GREAT. but I digress....
Here is a link to Amy and Kevin's sugar house on the web, the Raymond Sugar House! Go there, poke around a bit. See some things you think you might like? I know you will. I have had the priviledge of sampling some of the goodies. Lemme tell you, I was never let down. I don't like a lot of sweets, and the maple flavors are just right. The granola is very good. Just sweet enough to munch munch much. I haven't tried it in yogurt, but I bet it is wonderful. The first way to gain entry into the contest is to simply leave me a note in the comments telling me that you want in. Remember, if you don't leave your name somewhere and only comment as 'anonymous', well, then, you're entry doesn't count.
Here are some pictures of the production process that I took two springs ago. We were just driving around one evening and decided to drop in on the Raymonds. Their sugar shack (as it is called) is in their back yard. Very cool.

It takes around 40 gallons of sap from a sugar maple tree to make ONE gallon of syrup. This and other facts about syrup production can be found by poking around on  Amy and Kevin's site. Production Photo.....
that's my wife and little guy watching the
evaporation process

After the sap has boiled down sufficiently, it is poured off and then put through a series of filters before it is ready for consumption. One of the BEST TREATS EVER is called 'sugar on snow', where you make a 'snow cone' out of real snow and then pour fresh, hot maple syrup on it. mmmmmm. nothing quite like it. Gain yourself another entry into the contest by letting me know that you follow me on twitter. No need to retweet about the contest. I want the winner to be someone who has been part of my virtual support system for more than just the duration of this contest. Also, please don't post it on FB. Thank you.
I cannot say enough good things about Amy and her family. They are the kind of people that you wish you could spend more time with, but just never seem to be able to do so on a regular basis. So go check out their site. Bookmark it to come back to when you need to buy a gift for that hard to buy for person on your list (this is always ME). Oh, and of course, leave a comment telling me that you want to be part of this. Sorry, I can't ship overseas, but I WILL ship to Canada.....
Oh, right. About the drawing. I will do it in pretty much the same way that Barefoot Neil Z. is doing one on his blog, but not sure about the video taping part. I am not quite that techno savvy...."My son will pick entered names out of a hat in a really cute and aw shucks inspiring way"
Oh, right! CONTEST ENDS 30 SEPTEMBER.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Uncle Sam Cereal Review and Prelude to a Contest

Just over a month ago I won a contest that Carissa had on her blog Fit To Indulge. The prize was a coupon from Attune Foods for a free box of Uncle Sam cereal. A few things came into play when I decided to try to win:
I am a sucker for "Uncle Sam" things. If the product was called "Uncle Sam's Sandpaper based Toilet Tissue", I probably would still want to win it.
Carissa is a dietitian who practices what she preaches. I can't take advice from people who aren't willing to put their money where their mouth is. Like overweight doctors. What?
I had never tried anything with Flaxseed before, and, well, if i could do it for FREEEE? Bonus. Alright, here we go.....
My typical breakfast consists of some fat free plain yogurt with GoLean Crunch  some other crunchy cereal and either banana ("blub-blubs"!) or strawberries or blueberries or nothing, and a cuppa coffee (I hope I win some in Neil's contest!). Simple.
When I got the box of Uncle Sam, the first thing I noticed on the top lid was this warning:
"PLEASE NOTE: TURN PACKAGE UPSIDE DOWN AND SHAKE BEFORE SERVING. THIS PROMOTES EVEN DISTRIBUTION OF FLAXSEED IN EACH SERVING"  (good to know!).
So I shook it. Like a polaroid picture. For the first 'test' I used 2% milk. Batman helped make sure that I used the right portion of cereal (serving size 3/4 cup (55g)). I think that this is the first (and last) time I have ever measured cereal. Breakfast looked like this:

I don't like soggy cereal so I started to eat right away. I did NOT add any sugar to it, although some honey drizzled on top might not be bad. Or perhaps some Real Vermont Maple Syrup. (That link serves as the aforementioned 'prelude'). Right. So....The flavor is mild, earthy, but not at all like most of those highly marketed high fiber high bran cereals that fill supermarket shelves. No twigs and bark here! Just tasty, mild flakes. And seeds. Did I mention the seeds? No? Well......
Flaxseeds. This was my first experience with them, so I didn't know what to expect. They are a bit crunchy, but then again they almost seem to 'pop' when you bite them. I did notice that there was a slightly 'oily' feeling on the roof of my mouth when I was done, but the hot coffee took care of that. What the java didn't take care of was the seeds stuck between my teeth. For this reason, Uncle Sam is not really first date material. (Although, if you ARE sharing it for breakfast, chances are you have already had the first date). In a word: brush your teeth. Or swish the coffee around like I did. Saves time!
The second day I ate the cereal, I tried it with yogurt. I put in too much, and it turned my yogurt to cement. Tasty cement, but cement none-the-less. My advice? Go lytely. I mean LIGHTLY. whew. (big, BIG difference there....)
I honestly enjoyed this cereal. I didn't eat it every day, and the box lasted me about a week and a half. One caveat, though. If you are lactose intolerant, I suggest using yogurt with this cereal. The combo of fiber and my 'intolerance'....well.....sped things up a bit after the second day. With yogurt? No problems. Regular readers of this blog know my sentiments toward cow's milk anyway. What? You don't? Read this.
I have yet to come up with my rating system for reviews, but if I had, Uncle Sam cereal from Attune Foods would rank way up there. On the simple scale of 0-11 (0 being worst), I give it an:


(for you youngsters out there, this is an EIGHT track cassett. go ask your parents....)

I found the cereal in the 'healthy foods' section of our local Shaw's supermarket. Well worth trying out!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Back on the Run

Two evenings ago I went for a run and had a blast. Kinda rainy at the beginning, but since I was in the woods, I didn't feel much of it; the sun came out less than half way through. It was very nice to be surrounded by trees and plants and such.
photo credit: Salomon Shoes
I ran on a trail that I like to call (when I talk to myself about these things) my 'Test Piece'. Do you have a Test Piece? A spot on a trail, a hill, a stream, some thing that was a challenge to you when you first started, but you have been able to notice steady improvements? Could be a timed distance, the ability to make it to the top of 'that hill' without stopping, anything really. Afterall, it is your Test Piece.
Mine has a crazy but short uphill along a powerline about 200m(eters) into it. Hard packed and very slick when it rains. I have never been able to get to the top without nearly dying. Monday, I made it right up. Stopping never crossed my mind. It goes up rather steadily for a bit after that, and reaches it's height at about .45 miles into the trail. After that, a long, steady downhill to the end. In the past, I have had to stop and walk before I reached the 'summit'. Not Monday! I ran all the way to the end! Very cool. Not wanting to over do it, I did take 2x30second walk breaks on my way back to the truck.
One of the things that I struggle with is not feeling guilty about taking time for myself. Some may say that I take waaay too much a LOT of time for myself. I won't dispute that I try to take some every day, but lemme tell you it is filled with guilt. I am working on that, but it will be a 'process'.
Any one else feel like they 'shouldn't' be taking time to run? My wife is very good about my running. She even encourages me to do more of it. She has said, "when you run regularly you seem happier, nicer to be around. That makes you a better husband, father, friend. when you don't run, well....we wish you would." (not an exact quote, but i don't think she'd deny it....)
I have a giveaway that I am getting ready to post. This one is a doooooozy. Stay tuned. Maybe tomorrow...

Monday, September 13, 2010

VT Remembers 10k

This past Saturday I had the honor of participating in one of the most meaningful races/events in the state. The Vermont Remembers 10krun/walk/ruck march raises money and awareness for the Vermont Fallen Heroes Memorial at Camp Johnson, Headquarters for the Vermont Army and Air National Guards. This year was the 4th year of the event, but the first time I was able to participate.
My sister invited me to come along, and how could I refuse? Z had a football game in Pembroke, NH, so I missed that. Can't be in two places at the same time, though.
Some of you may be wondering what the "ruck march" part is all about. Here's the skinny; you have to do the 10k with a pack, minimum of 35 pounds. The packs were weighed at the start AND at the finish, and if your finish weight was less than 35 pounds, you were ineligible for prizes in that category. My little sister's pack finished out at 37 pounds. Here she is at the start. We hung out toward the back for the entire event. Think: "No One gets left behind."
That's her on the far right, looking back toward the camera.
After the dirt road leading out the 'back gate' of Camp Johnson, the rest was all on pavement. We hugged the shoulder all the way. The course was marked with cones, and at regular intervals there were Army Medics waiting to help anyone who needed it. Water was available along the course. Soldiers were at all intersections, as well as side roads to help control traffic and prevent accidents. We acted as sweepers, and made sure that everyone crossed the finish line. It was one of the best 1:54 10k's I have ever walked. Oh. I also pushed her son and our son in our stroller. Here they are, each earning (sharing) their first race bib!
Our nephew Carson(1) on our left, our son Bryce(4) on our right.
The kids had a great time. Carson fell asleep around mile marker 4, but B stayed awake the whole time, chatting, helping Carson, and fighting to keep the sun out of their eyes. For a looped course, we sure seemed to be facing the sun almost the entire time. Odd.....
I can't remember how fast the first runner finished, but the first person with a ruck finished in around 50 minutes. My PR for 10k is right around that, and that's wearing the bear minimum, NOT carrying 35+ pounds. Hoo-ah!
Here are some photos of the Memorial. For what it is worth, I recommend that we all seek out at least one race like this every year. Doesn't have to be for a military cause. Could be any local 'cause'. The military ones are near and dear to me, so I tend to gravitate toward them.
The plaques on either side of the statue are names of VT's Fallen Heroes

I worked closely with this Hero. He struggled with our 2mile run.
After I would finish, I would go back out on the course and pace
him in the rest of the way so that he would make the cut-off.
He 'hated' me for doing it. RIP, Kevin.
Bryce asked lots of questions. A day later, he was able to
tell his Mom exactly what I explained to him about the
statue.

Soldiers from the Revolutionary War, Vietnam, and the Gulf War look on.

It was a wonderful day. I wished that Tracey, Mike, and Zach could have been there, too. Perhaps next year, when my sister's husband is back from the 'Stans', the 8 of us can participate together. That would be Awesome. I might cry.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I am not worthy

I was going to post something funny here for Friday, but Adam beat me to it. He said that Red told him about it.
Many thanks to both of you. Here is the direct link. (note: make sure you have peed already, AND that you are not drinking a hot or carbonated beverage while viewing this).
AND....it seems that I have ruffled some feathers, and that was not my intent. I incorrectly (but meant NO harm or foul) called Jamoosh a 'beer snob', to which he has seemingly taken offense. Please allow me to re-label him as a beer 'enthusiast'. To wit:

"Moi? Daggers to my heart. Two things. First, I believe every beer has its place. Contrary to popular belief I don’t drink a whole lot of beer, or alcohol for that matter. Thus, when I do enjoy a brew it must be flavorful and it must bring me a modicum of joy. Therefore, I prefer the beers brewed by craft breweries over their mass produced brethren. Second, I am going to let you in on a little secret. Lone Star. Yup, that’s right. On the rare occasion I need an ice cold beer that goes down easy and fast, I choose The National Beer of Texas. No beer snob would dare pick up a Lone Star."

Hmm. the only Lone Star THIS beer snob has ever heard of was last seen travelling through space with a Druish Princess ("funny, she doesn't look Druish").
For those of you looking for a good movie to re-watch, Spaceballs is a great go-to movie for a rainy friday night and a plate of (organic, of course (HA!)) nachos. And maybe a Lone Star.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I hope this lasts forever....but I know it might not....

Warning: Video Laden. Sentimental (for me, anyway). Borderline SAPPY.
Double Warning: Wikkid Cute Kid Running Through Woods

This spring I took B into the woods behind our development. I grew up 'out in the sticks', and often go back to the woods to re-ground myself (is that the right term? I dunno.) It isn't that I am a tree hugger or that I am 'in love with Mother Nature', but I do find that the more I spend time in the woods, the smaller my problems become. Or at least more manageable. Do you have a place to go for that?
Anyway, while B was flitting around the woods, I decided to shoot some video with my phone. I am told that before I know it, he won't want to go into the woods with his Dad, or help with laundry, or dishes, or cleaning, or just riding around laughing, or any of that 'fun' stuff. So I am starting to capture it as often as I can. Since you came here, you get to see some of it, too.
I like to call this first one "Spring". It was shot on 1MAY10, in the evening.
video
What a hoot. This next one, I call "Fall". Shot same day as above. Wait for it....wait for it....
video
This is the last one that I shot that day. I had been running along behind him, but decided to stop to see what he would do when he didn't hear me. He kept going; lost in the moment, lost to his thoughts. I totally know how he may have felt at this time. When I think about things like, "what would I do differently?", I almost always answer myself with "spend more time running in the woods."

video
Lastly, here is a video that I shot yesterday, Labor Day 2010. B and I (as ususal) were up before the rest of the house. As usual, we were having a tough time keeping quiet. So off we went to find a geocache (as often we do). The area was less than 10 miles from the house, and has an elaborate trail system that I had heretofore known NOTHING about (as UNususal. TLW says that I know everything about everything am a real smarta$$, but...well, not in THIS case (isolated incident)).
video

alright. for some reason blogger isn't letting me see my own blog. my MOM, (God love her) often replies to the email notification she gets about the blog, but doesn't comment ON the blog site. I dunno why. I've tried to 'splain it to her, but...well.....she DOES live with my Dad, so THAT's gotta account for some added confusion, so i'll cut her some slack (Hi, Mom!). here is her comment to this posting:
"So very cute .... not so sappy... wish I had the miracle of phone videos when you had an almost dangerous run in the woods of Gilead once.... remember the leap over the well??? Look up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane... no .. it is a flying boy!! Remember???? .tm "
And to answer, yes, I remember. I recall it often, actually. We were returning from a family hike in the woods, and being the calm, cool, collected boy that I was  highly exitable kid that I was, I ran ahead of everyone else (as I often did). I usually stayed within sight, but not this time. As I sped down the hill, I came across a pile of fallen branches, so naturally I lept over them. In mid air, I looked down to find a GAPING HOLE IN THE EARTH, assuredly put there to swallow little boys who ran too far ahead of their parents. In a last ditch effort to save my life, I managed to pull my legs up just enough before landing that I cleared said well, before I came crashing to earth. Mayhem ensued, the EPA was called, and the well was filled with toxic waste and then sealed with cement from Agway. Flowers were planted around the edge in homage to all other little boys who weren't such good jumpers as me.
Did I get that right? Little cloudy on the last part, but that's how I tell the story, anyway, and I'm stickin' to it.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I am NOT a runner-baker.

Last week I was tweeting with some tweeps, and jogblog was tweeting about some peanut butter bars with one of her fellow Brittons. (can I say "Brits"? I mean it respectfully, but am not sure if it is taken that way...I should have asked first.) At any rate, I was fortunate enough to be given the recipe that was being tossed around. Now, as my wife will attest, I am no baker (foreshadowing!), but I doooo like me some peanut butter bars. I printed it out, and made up my mind that I would ask my wife to make them for me over the weekend.
A shopping trip took place today, and after we came back, T took to staining a new book case that Grampa made for B, and I cleaned the kitchen. I told T that I was going to make pb bars politely asked if it would be alright if I attempted the bars. Here is the pile of ingredients:
Seemed simple enough. We didn't have the right sized pan, so T said that I could safely double the recipe and use a 9x9 pan. So I did. Doubling called for 8 Tbsp of PB, and I added that to the pot after a healthy stir. I also needed 8 Tbsp of the next ingredient. Right around 3, T started talking to me from the deck, and I stopped somewhere between 7 and 12 Tbsp of said ingredient. I said, "ummmm, I just lost count counting to EIGHT." I turned on the burner to 3 (ours goes to "11"), and started to stir. T steps in and says, "You are no baker. Let me do this." (Sweet relief! It was actually my plan all along, but shhhhhhh!) So she stirs for about 2 minutes and then says, "hey GENIUS, you turned on the wrong burner!" what the? yep, sure enough..... ok.
Faaaaast forward. First ingredients mixed and melted. Seemed like it took about 6 hours to get to this point, and we still had to add more stuff. AND bake it. I don't bake well. All this adding and mixing and waiting. Gimme some good ol stove top cooking (but not "Stove Top". that ain't cookin'.) So we (she) added in the dry stuff, and we (she) pressed it into the pan.
I was able to busy myself for a few minutes and not dance around the kitchen, impatiently staring at the clock and pining for my delicious treats. If I DID do that, it MIGHT have looked something like this...
But since it didn't, and I was able to get to my pet project of finding a cure for male pattern baldness (for OTHER men. I am very secure with my receding hairline hair just the way it is. If only the forehead didn't shine so much...
When the time came (FINALLY (twss)) and we hauled the snacks out of the oven and I eagerly scored them. I waited until they cooled (spent some QT with the little guy by blasting lego versions of Star Wars bad guys. I love that game! They looked like this. Oh, yes. Keep in mind that I am a Nurse, and NOT a baker (we've established that) and not a food photographer. They are MUCH tastier than the pictures lead you to believe.....

Over all rating is an 8 out of 10. I need to establish some sort of system like Jeff and Jamoosh if I am going to continue to review things (foreshadowing).



I was so close to the light, i added the hat to spare your monitors. you are welcome.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"Is that you, Cupcake?" -Jack Palance-

spoken right before the Joker danced around and shot him in the BEST film version of the Batman story, starring Keaton and Nicholas.
The cupcake that i am referring to now, though, is the emblem for an 'award' bestowed upon me by fellow blogger/runner/beer snob Jamoosh. His reason for choosing me is:
"Gene – For no reason whatsoever." (oddly, I get that a lot). As some of you know, there are acceptance rules to awards such as this, and (fortunately) none of them include Kanye West. (now, if they DID include Taylor Swift, well....). Alright, here are the rules as they pertain to the winners of this wonderful award:
1) you must dance around your workspace shouting "I WON I WON I WON" until someone asks you to stop. oh. the dance MUST include one of the following 3 moves: a) sprinkler b) white guy with an overbite or c) the RUNNING MAN (of course!)
2) Answer this question: If you had the chance to go back and change one thing in your life, would you and what would it be? (*note: it CAN"T be to skip rule Number One.)
3) Pick 6 people and give them this award. You then have to inform the person that they have gotten this award.
4) The fourth and final thing is, thank the person who gave you the award.


Without further ado, I will now fullfill my duties. Let me start off by skipping RIGHT PAST Number One above. That's right, the "little bit extra" that I bring to this award process is a blatand disregard for rules. In fact, I have such a disregard for them that I ADDED my own (above, #1), and then will blatantly ignore it. That's how i roll. Don't judge me.
Okok. So there was more ado. Big Fat Hairy Back Deal. Hang on....

(the real)#1) if I had a chance blah blah blah...If I were to answer this question honestly, as it pertains to my overall LIFE, I would say that I never would have listened to a schoolmate who's initials are J.G.. In listening to him, I broke up with my girlfriend while I was away as an exchange student. Our lives changed forever after that, and not always for the better. The happy ending (middle) to the story is that we are now married (to each other, finally), and our days are spent blissfully gazing into each other's eyes as we skip along the happy road of life that destiny has laid out before us. Honestly. Aren't yours?

#2) Pick 6 people and give them the award, too. Wow. I don't know 6 people. Not who can type, anyway. Oh, wait. Here are some........
Steve at Steve In A Speedo, Gross! because his shorts bring a little 'extra' to the game.
Tricia at Endurance isn't only physical, because she is uber positive.
Elisabeth at It's A Jogger's Life, because she likes to bake CUPCAKES (and is a cool blogger/tweeter)!
hoo boy. this is getting tough....6? why SIX?
Gina at The Candid RD because she's been helpful to me, and like me, she likes kitchen gadgets.
Carissa at Fit to Indulge. Who wouldn't like a foodie who is also getting ready for her first marathon?
and last but not least, and I am sorry if he's been tagged already, but.....
Jeff at Running Through Phoenix. School PrincipAL, runner, new bread baker, family guy.

#3) A special Vermont thank you to Jamoosh, from the heart of my bottom bottom of my heart, for giving me this award. More importantly, perhaps, it gave me something to do instead of my real job. WIN-WIN.