Monday, February 28, 2011

Marathon Training - Week 1

It's finally here -- the start of marathon training!  So far, it has been an absolute and total success, largely in part because the first day is a rest day.  Am I an awesome planner or what?

Monday - Rest.

Tuesday - 3.0 miles.

Wednesday - Rest.

Thursday - 4.0 miles.

Friday - 3.0 miles.

Saturday - Rest.

Sunday - 5.0 miles.  Just saw a notice for a Winery Run and Brunch down in Eugene I'm interested in checking out.  Anybody up for it?

I'm supposed to have a cross training day in there on Tuesday, but my plan is to work that in about four weeks from now.  I just know I can't go from zero workouts to five and stick with that for 16 weeks.  Gotta ease into it, just a smidge. 

Yesterday I had a fabulous run with Jules.  We did about 2/3rds of Terwilliger, including the big scary hill.  A little under five miles in a little over an hour.  The weather was perfect for running, actually got overheated just a bit at one point but then the wind kicked back up again and all was good.  On Saturday I finally found a pair of cold weather running tights -- all the others I saw were too long or too long / with an awful camel toe thing going on -- that I wore on Sunday and they were perfect.  I almost wish I had a pair just for lounging around the house, they were that toasty.  But not sweaty-toasty. 

On the Terwillinger hill, it's funny.  Except for the last downhill (or uphill, depending) part, I don't really think of it as being a hill.  That's because it's gradual and lonnnnngggggg.  Close to a mile long.  It's the energizer bunny of hills.  The best part is going down all of that because you feel like you're 100% in peak condition.  Then you turn around and head back up, which is the steepest part but not too bad.  You finally get to the top of that and think "I did it!" and then you keep going and going and going and going.  Eventually you're thinking "when the hell will this go back down?"  And now you're not feeling very in shape any more.  The nice part is that there are lots and lots of poles, so you can motivate yourself to run to that pole... then that pole.... then walk to that pole....  then run to that pole...

It feels good to be running again.  My hip was a little sore as usual, but not that horrible grinding feeling I've had the last few times.  I have a few sore muscles today -- mainly the front of my shins, probably from the hills -- but nothing serious as long as I can get up and move every couple of hours. 

In other news.... I'm about 80% towards committing to do the Portland Marathon.  I would be doing it for fun (ha!) rather than any kind of time goal.  I think that would lessen my anxiety about the St. Johns Bridge.  I'm still looking at my schedule and thinking on it...

Today's post was brought to you by the ellipses.  When you need a dramatic pause, use an ellipses....

the CilleyGirl....

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Countdown to Shamrock!

Looks like the plan is set:  the Little Fruit Fly is going to stay at Chez CilleyGirl and da Mutts for the Shamrock 15K.  Yay!!  This will be the first time we've met in person, so it will be fun!  I'll have to sharpen up that axe....

As part of the festivities, I thought it would be fun to invite other Portland area runners (or those running Shamrock that weekend) to join us for either a pre-race dinner or a post-race brunch.  For dinner, pasta seems like the natural choice.  I'm thinking Nonna Emilia out in Aloha off of TV Highway.  Good food and lots of it at a decent price.  There is also always the Olive Garden, but for better or for worse it is a chain restaurant.  Another good local pasta join is that one in downtown Beaverton -- Giovanni's.  The challenge in this is that I am a dedicated carnivore and the LFF is a veg head.  It seems that Italian restaurants have largely resisted the Portland tendency towards having a vegetarian menu selection.

For brunch, Mother's would be the obvious choice except... after Shamrock it will be absolutely PACKED.  After I run 15K, I'm not terribly eager to be stuffed in a tiny lobby for an hour-plus waiting for a table.  So I think Seasons & Regions off Capitol Highway would be a better choice.  It's an easy, short drive and their brunches are fabulous.  They have a whole benedict section in their menu; what more could you want??

Anyone interested in joining us?  (Jules, you don't get a choice -- you're coming!!)  If so, let me know!

the CilleyGirl

Monday, February 21, 2011

It's Bunday!

Howdy hey everyone.  Hope you are having a wonderful Monday wherever you are.  We have sun here, high above the Portland metro area.  It looks like it's still fairly socked in down in the valley.  We get both better and worse weather up where I am.  And they're forecasting snow yet again for later this week.  Huh?  Well, we told you those groundhogs don't know anything. 

I am status quo.  Eating remains an adventure.  I have really really good days and then okay days.  I think I've had fast food maybe once in the past month or so, so that is better.  I've had pizza a few too many times, though.  Today was my fourth weekly weigh in where I didn't gain or lose a single ounce.  While it would be nice to see some losses, I thought for sure I would've gained five pounds so status quo is good. 

Still can't get my head back into running and exercise, which is not good.  Training starts February 28th.  I am hoping that once again the fear of the 26.2 will motivate me.  Well, it's not fear of the distance so much as that I know I can't just wing it.  You have to put in the training.  And I do love racing.  I know I'd love it a lot more if I actually was back in shape. 

In other news, I've been looking ahead to the days when my dogs are no longer with me.  For a long time, I've wanted to have a rabbit.  Or two.  So I've been perusing a lot of bunny blogs.  Some of you might be reading this because I've started following your bunny blog.  It may be a while before I'm ready for bunny slavedom, in the interim I'm researching what it takes.  I love bunnies.  It's not that they're cute and cuddly.  It's that bunnies will kick your ass.  But not many people realize this.  This is how bunnies will take over the world.  And I want to be on their good side when it happens.

the CilleyGirl

Monday, February 14, 2011

Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent

It's sad that I have been watching RuPaul's Drag Race for three seasons now, and only yesterday did I finally get the joke.  Charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent are the qualities they look for in a drag queen.  Let me spell that out for you.  Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent. 

There are times when I am slow on the uptake.  They're rare, but they're there.

Anyhow.  Yesterday was the Fanconi Anemia 5K/8K/12K run.  If you've been following me for a while, you'll know that the Fanconia Anemia 5K was my very first race back in February 2009.  Last year I did their inaugural 8K.  This year was their first year for a 12K and I really wanted to do it, but I knew I would not be in shape.  And I was right. 

I just was not feeling this run, and in reading other blogs that seems to be going around.  Must be the alignment of the planets or something (insert Uranus joke here).  I don't know if I didn't fuel or hydrate properly but I had nothing in the tank.  In that spot where you reach down to push through the wall was just a big gaping hole.  I was running with my friend Jules for most of the race.  We were in the 12s for most of that, then I had to drop back.  I had nothing to draw on and my left hip was aching again.  I was just starting to feel like I was getting my second wind when I tripped over a buckle in the sidewalk and almost took a header.  Good news was, my left hip started to feel better after that.  Bad news was, I jammed my toe and my right hip started to hurt.  Stupid tree roots.  I limped for a bit until I got back to the waterfront, watching Jules pull farther and farther away (yay Jules -- you did a great race!).  Official time for me:  1:10:39.  The 8K winner finished in 28 minutes flat.  That's just way too much overachievement in my book. 

I tested some new equipment for this race.*  First up was a hand-held water bottle.  Made by Amphipod, it holds 20 oz. and has a neoprene cover.  Pros:  The cover was nice.  My hands didn't freeze and the cover sucked up any sweat.  Cons:  The spout is very tight and hard to open.  The bottle is made to carry in your right hand but I carried it in my left because I simply could not open it otherwise.  Doing it that way, there was only one time when I couldn't get it open right away.  The zippered pouch is also very small and hard to access the zipper.  It's really hard when you're carrying the bottle in your left hand, because the zipper is designed to go on the inside (so that you can unzip it with the other hand).  It says you can fit a phone and keys in there.  No, you can not.  It would have fit my keys (all two of them).  I put my chapstick in there because I usually don't need it during a run.  Two gels would fit, maybe up to four if you stuffed them in there. 

I was also trying an Amphipod belt that had bib attachments plus a removable pouch for other stuff.  Pros:  Once I figured out how it all worked, this was excellent.  I loved not needing safety pins and the bib didn't get in my way.  I could have taken off my outer layer without worrying about my bib, had I wanted to.  I also didn't crush my bib like I usually do when I use the porta potty.  The waistband was snug and didn't shift.  I knew I had something around my waist, but it wasn't uncomfortable.  More like, you know you're wearing a bra because of the slight pressure around your ribcage but it's not bothersome.  The back of the pouch was felted, so it stayed put and didn't shift either.  And the pouch expanded to a great size:  it easily fit my driver's license and a credit card, some cash, my Droid, and my keys (car key, house key and a keyless entry fob), and there was still room for more.  And because the pouch was felted on the back, it sucked up my sweat and I didn't end up with wet money.  I think I paid $18 for this.  I would have paid up to $25 and still felt like it was a bargain. 

I also got a different Amphipod belt with a pouch where the pouch is much smaller, not felted, with no bib hooks and the belt sucks.  I'm returning this one without even taking it for a test run. 

Lastly, I found these cool wrist gaiters by Marmot at REI.  I'd never seen these before:

They are designed for men.  Maybe they have them for women too, but I couldn't find another pair anywhere in REI.  Which was a shame to a certain extent because the pair I found had a small hold in the wrist.  I think they were marked at $20, I ended up getting 10% off as a consequence.  These are fabulous.  I've never liked the shirts that have thumb holes because they're always uncomfortable for me where they hook over the thumbs; I guess I have long arms or something and my arm motion results in tugging on the thumb holes.  With these?  Never an issue.  Plus my hands didn't get as hot as they do with normal gloves.  I ended pulling one off at one point in the race when they got too hot -- the other one was under my Garmin, another bonus because my Garmin didn't irritate my wrist as it usually does, nor did it twist around and come unstrapped -- but only for a few minutes.  And I could use my iPod, etc., without having to pull off a whole glove.  They easily tucked under my waist belt when I wasn't wearing them.  I'm almost thinking about getting another pair to wear in the car; your hands don't slide off the steering wheel, you can push the buttons on the car radio, answer or do whatever on your touch screen phone, everything.  The tops of the gaiters would come to about my first knuckle if I wanted extra warmth.

So, there is my exciting race report and gear review.  I guess I was more excited by the gear than the race.  It's fun to try stuff out!

Happy VD everyone!

the CilleyGirl

*I bought this stuff myself.  So there.  But feel free, marketing people, to send me stuff I don't have to pay for. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Cooking with the CilleyGirl

Happy Friday everyone!

I've been staying off the crack of fast food and getting back into cooking.  I feel like cooking much more often when I'm not working ten hours a day and seven days a week.  Go figure!

First up on the menu is....   Coconut-Cashew Chicken from The Paleo Diet Cookbook.  This was one of my Christmas presents to myself.

The recipe, like almost all in this book, is very easy.  Except for the part where you're trying to find coconut milk and garam masala. 

To make Coconut-Cashew Chicken, first you must make Creamy Coconut Curry -- also in The Paleo Diet Cookbook.  Start with heating two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add in a medium onion and a small tomato, both chopped.  Cook for five miniutes.  Then add four crushed garlic cloves (I used about a tablespoon bottled minced garlic) and one one-inch piece fresh ginger root (not sure if I prepared it correctly, I diced up peeled ginger root).  At which point it looks like this.

Or, as I like to call it, something I would never, ever, ever eat in that form.  But that's okay because we're not done yet.  After cooking for one minute, reduce heat to low and simmer for ten minutes while stirring occasionally.  Next, add one teaspoon garam masala spice blend.  I hunted all through Fred Meyer looking for this, but mine did not have it.  I figured I'd have to go to New Seasons or Whole Foods, then remembered that right down the street from me is a world foods market.  It's heavy on the meditteranean/arabic fare and it has, among things -- pretty sure I remember whole, frozen goat heads -- garam masala. 

Ta da!  With the garam masala added, simmer for five more minutes.  Remove from heat and cool for ten minutes.  Then there's some blender fun, as you pour -- more like glop -- the mixture into a blender and puree until smooth.  I used my tiny food processor attachment to my hand blender.

See how tiny?  This is why a real food processor is in my future.  Pour -- or glop -- this back into the skillet and add coconut milk. 

Pretty sure this is coconut milk....

Yay for my ability to read pictures!  Simmer over low heat (the mixture, not that box of coconut milk), stirring constantly, for ten minutes.  At which point it looks like this:

Also known as, stuff that I would actually eat.  You can use the Creamy Coconut Curry for several things.  At least, so says the cookbook.  I have yet to investigate further.

To make Coconut-Cashew Chicken, take four skinless, boneless chicken breasts and pound them thin.  I never use a meat mallet for this; it always ends up decimating the chicken.  Instead, I put the chicken breasts into a large ziploc and pound them with a rolling pin.  Not only does it not not perforate the chicken breasts or the plastic, it's fun! 

Put the pounded breasts into something in which you can marinate them.  I usually use a large ziploc bag for this as well (you can re-use the one in which you pounded the breasts), or you can use a tupperware container; my parents have ones made specifically for marinating.  I use this:

Marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours.  Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking. 

The recipe says to broil the chicken by placing it on a wire rack and cooking for 20 minutes, turning at the halfway point.  I didn't broil mine, I baked them at 400 degrees on a wire rack in a roasting pan, still for about 20 minutes and turning them halfway.  I guess broiling would make them crispier?  I rarely use my broiler for meats because I have a small apartment-sized oven and it smokes/burns things much too easily.

The recipe then says to remove the chicken from the oven and scatter with 1/4 cup chopped, roasted cashews. 

You may notice there are no cashews.  That would be because instead of lightly roasting my cashews, I totally toasted them.  Remember where I said my small apartment size ovens easily burns things?  I almost set the paper tray from a take and bake pizza on fire once.  So, instead of cashews I just topped with leftover coconut curry sauce that I heated thoroughly in a saucepan. 

How did it turn out?  Well....  good, I guess.  I have no idea if it turned out how it was supposed to taste.  If it did, it was good.  Problem was, somehow I got it into my head that the sauce was going to be like thai peanut sauce, but with coconut.  It didn't taste like either of those so I found it disappointing in that regard.  But otherwise, it was good.  And paleo!

In other cooking adventures, a couple of recipes have been inspired by a parmesan-crusted tilapia filet I bought pre-made (but not cooked) at the grocery store a few weeks ago.  The store one was really good, but seemed fairly simple to make so I gave it a shot. 

The first time I tried, I took a tilapia filet and smeared it with about two tablespoons of sour cream.  Literally slapped it in my hand and rubbed the sour cream on both sides like it was cold cream.  I then dredged that in a mix of about two tablespoons bread crumbs, two tablespoons shredded parmesan, and seasoning to taste (I used a non-salt seasoning from Whole Foods that has about ten different spices in it, like garlic, parsley, and so on).  Bake in a shallow greased (sprayed with Pam) dish at 400 degrees for about 12-15 minutes until it flaked with a fork.

It was yummy. 

Tonight I tried a variation on the theme.  Instead of sour cream, I mixed a few tablespoons of ranch dressing with a little water -- maybe 2/3rds ranch to 1/3 water.  You want to get it to the consistency of milk, only slightly thicker.  I dipped the tilapia filet into this mixture, which adhered nicely, and then dredged it in a couple of tablespoons each of the bread crumbs and shredded parmesan.  The fish went into a shallow greased dish and then I sprinkled some of that same seasoning on top.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 12-15 minutes.

It was also yummy, but not quite as yummy as the first version.  The first was more flavorful and the sour cream/bread crumbs/cheese were meltier.  The second needed more spice and it wasn't as moist.  The first version was closer to the store-bought tilapia. 

Calorie-wise?  No clue.  I wouldn't think the breading would add many calories. 

So, there you have it!  If you try it out, or have any recipe suggestions for me, let me know.

the CilleyGirl

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dammit Jim -- I'm a doctor, not a fluffer!

I've been waiting to use that line all day.  Hello to the new followers!!

Still having problems with my brain.  I think I have a sinus infection together with an odd interaction between  the new blood pressure meds I went on in December and my antidepressant.  Or else I need to adjust the dosage on the antidepressant.  When you know you're having a depressive episode and that you just can't snap out of it, you almost keep telling yourself to snap out of it -- it's a depressive episode!  Very chicken and the egg that, yeah?  Lack of exercise isn't helping -- again with the chicken and the egg, I'd feel better if I exercised but I feel so lousy I don't exercise, blah blah blah.  Lather, rinse and repeat. 

So.  I see my regular doctor for a meds checkup in a little over a week.  I still need to call the allergist about my sinuses.  The pressure has been so intense lately that it causes my right eye to weep as I sleep.  I wake up with one eye glued shut.  It's been great for my Popeye impression.

Anyhow, since I have nothing interesting to report I thought I'd pull out a back burner idea and describe what I eat in a day under this plan we call paleo.  Yes, please try to contain your excitement. 

For weekday breakfasts, I often have shrimp with a dab of cocktail sauce.  Everybody thinks that is weird.  I don't know why.  To me, it's like having a fancy brunch every day.  Because when you go to a fancy brunch, don't you go for the shrimp too?  Mmmm, yummy.  I usually get a pound and a half of cocktail shrimp and split those up into five days.  It works out to about 15 or so shrimps.  Later in the morning I have a banana.  I don't do hot beverages first thing in the morning (unless somebody else in the office buys me a coffee) so I'm drinking a diet soda or two in there.  Lots of water; my 32 oz. college drink (read:  adult beverage) cup is now my office water cup.

Weekend breakfasts are usually some sort of scrambled egg creation.  Ham or bacon, mushrooms, a little cheese, leftover shrimps if I've got them.  Orange juice (the reduced sugar kind, else watered down with about 2/3rds juice and 1/3 water) if I've got it.  If I'm still hungry, I'll have fruit too.  Usually a banana.

Weekday lunches are grilled chicken, pork, or beef; baby carrots; and some sort of fruit.  Not a banana if I can help it.  Berries in season, else grapes or pineapple are my go-to fruits.  I like apples but they're too much work, and the pre-sliced apple packs you can buy taste funny to me.  A variety of supplements if I remembered to pack them:  fish oil, glucosamine if I'm training, vitamin D and CoQ-10.  I don't do a multivitamin every day anymore; I'll take them for a day or two if I'm feeling run down. 

Weekend lunches are usually non-existent because (a) I sleep in late if I can and (b) I eat a big breakfast.  If I do feel the need for lunch, it's usually snacking on nuts or grilled meat, maybe fruit.

Dinners are more or less like lunches, except sans fruit.  I try to do shellfish or fish a couple of times a week at least, because otherwise I'm eating the same grilled meat I just had for lunch and I get bored.  Veggies are typically of the hot variety.  I like those steam in the bag kinds; the broccoli/cauliflower/carrots with a light cheese sauce are a favorite.  If I'm feeling particularly virtuous I'll make a side salad as well.  If I'm really feeling virtuous and not so very hungry, I'll do a big salad as the meal.  One of my favorites is romaine hearts with walnuts, dates, grilled chicken, goat cheese crumbles, and a pear-gorgonzola vinaigrette.  Yummmm!!!!!  Chicken caesar salad is another favorite.  So is avocado/shrimp/romaine with a honey dijon vinaigrette.  Litehouse makes some really nice light vinaigrettes with minimal ingredients-you-can't-recognize.  Bolthouse Farms is another good source for dressings. 

You'll notice there's no grains in there and almost no dairy.  While I do miss a good bagel and a schmear, I don't miss bread.  Well, okay, I miss really really really good bread, like fresh homemade rolls, but those are more of a treat kind of thing from my perspective.  Like cinnamon rolls and chocolate croissants, two of my particular weaknesses.  It is also hard to thoroughly enjoy a good burger without a bun, but I'm working on it.  Just need to shift gears to a knife and fork kind of attitude. 

There's also no potatos.  I will make sweet potato fries occasionally, but now would rather do steamed veggies instead.  Weird, yeah?  Sugar and processed foods I try to limit.  With sugar, I have noticed that things taste sweeter now.  That's why I cut my OJ with water.  I don't really count the steam in bag veggies as being processed.  The dressings are, but I do look for ones comprised primarily of natural ingredients.  The diet soda, let's not mention that.   I do do my paleo with cheese, but more for flavor.  And a little calcium.

Well, there you have it!  It doesn't sound so scary, does it?  Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to have some lunch!

the CilleyGirl

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Yeah, yeah, yeah

Today's horoscope:
You need to start some new, healthy habit -- like exercise, a new commitment to whole grains or even just an hour per day less screen time. You're in the right frame of mind to really make it stick!
Okay, fine.  ;p

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

We interrupt today's programming to bring you.... Groundhog Day!

"Good morning.  This is Rod Hardwick coming to you live from the Oregon Zoo where Georgie the Groundhog has just emerged from his---"

"Uh, 'scuse me pal, ya see?  Ya got a nice shtick going here and all, ya see, but I ain't no groundhog, ya see?"

"Well I--"

"Naw man, Ima squirrel, ya see?  Stevie's my name, ya see.  Stevie Squirrel."


"Yeah, I know, you're wonderin', ya see.  You're wondering what a squirrel, ya see, is doin' in a groundhog burrow, ya see."

"Well yes--"

"It's a story, ya see.  A sad, sad story.  Ya see?"

"I'm not sure that--"

"Naw, really, sit down man.  And make sure that camera there gets my good side, ya see?"

"I guess, um, roll tape?"

"That's it, ya see.  Now, ya see, Ima squirrel.  A fine speciman of a ground squirrel, ya see?  No, man, flash up that stock photo of me.  I know ya got one."

"Yeah, man, that's the one.  That was me, last August, ya see.  Look good, don't I?"

"I uh--"

"Thanks man, that means a lot to me, ya see?  So, anyhows, there I was, minding my own business, ya see, having a good time doin my squirrel thing.  Then one day, ya see, I decides to climb this fence -- hey man, run that picture, will ya?"

"Sigh.  Go ahead, Carl."

"Yeah, that's the one.  Man, do I look good.  That's when my hair was shorter, ya see?  Makes my ears stand out more, ya see?  Anyhow, where was I?  Oh yeah, so Ima climbing this fence, ya see, cause I smelled somethin' good, ya see?  And it turned out Ima climbing into this zoo here, ya see?"


"Ya see?"

"Yes, I see."

"Good, man, try ta keep up, ya see?  So I climbs this fence, ya see, followin' my nose and all, and then wham!  I gets scooped up by this guy, ya see?  Hey, we got any footage of that?"


"Yeah, okay.  Not important.  Kinda embarrasin' actually, ya see.  Anyhows, ya see, this guy grabs me and puts me ina cage.  And it's a nice cage and all, ya see, big but cozy, ya see, but still.  So Ima askin' ya see, yo Holmes, man, what gives?  And that's when I find out, ya see."

"Find out what?"

"It's Georgie, ya see.  Man, it's sad."


"Anyone ever tell you you got a kinda abrupt interviewing style?  Ya see?  No?  Yeah, okay.  Not important.  Anyhows, that's when Ima find out, ya see, Georgie's dead."

"Georgie the Groundhog is dead?  Did you hear that, Monica?  This is Rod Rodwick, I mean Hardwick, coming to you live from the Oregon Zoo where--"

"Hey man, ya see, Ima not done with my story.  Seriously, man, J school -- check it out, ya see?  So, Ima sayin -- run that picture, will ya Carl?"

"Yeah, that's the one.  Thanks Carl!  Turns out Georgie'd had a heart attack just that mornin'."

"Oh my god!  Monica, are you getting this?  Georgie the Groundhog has died---"

"Naw, ya see, he's gonna be okay.  His cholesterol was somethin' awful, ya see, through the roof!  They fixed it though, ya see, although I don't know about that there tail, maybe that's a side effect of the meds or something, ya see.  Anyhows, back to me.  So Ima in this cage, and they tells me, ya see, they tells me they need a stand in for Georgie, do his thing in February, for him, ya see.  Kinda like a stunt double, ya see.  And Ima thinkin', ya see, Ima thinkin' cool!  So I sign up for the gig, ya see.  Only there's a problem, ya see."

"No, I--"

"Hey Carl, run that picture of Georgie.  Naw man, not that one, ya see, the other one."

"Yeah man, thanks, that's the one.  What is that, Glamour Shots?  I gotta get me some a' those.  Anyhows, where was I?  Oh yeah, ya see, there's a problem.  Ya see, Georgie -- bein' a groundhog and all -- is kinda big, ya see.  In the bottom, ya see.  Baby got back, ya see?  And me-- Hey Carl!  Run that other picture of me, will ya?"

"Thanks Carl!  You know, man, you really oughtta give Carl a raise, ya see?  So anyhows, you can see the problem, ya see.  Ima athletic squirrel, ya see, and Georgie ain't been ta the gym, ya see, in a long time.  But these zoo guys, ya see, they tells me they got a solution, ya see.  And that's where the nuts come in, ya see?"


"Nuts, man.  They start feedin' me, ya see.  They start feedin' me nuts, ya see, every kinda nut there is, ya see?"

"Well, I--"

"They got peanuts and cashew nuts and almond nuts and brazil nuts and hazel nuts.  Macadamia nuts and walnuts, ya see, and pistachio nuts and pine nuts.  Hey Carl, roll that picture of me eatin' the nuts."

"That Carl, man, he's good, he oughtta win an Emmy or somethin', ya see?   Anyway, like I was sayin', nuts is the fruit of the tree, ya see. You can barbecue them, boil them, broil them, bake them, saute them. Dey's uh, nut-kabobs, nut creole, nut gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple nuts, lemon nuts, coconut nuts, pepper nuts, nut soup, nut stew, nut salad, nuts and potatoes, nut burger, nut sandwich. That- that's about it.  Ya see?"

"I believe I'm starting too."

"Yeah, ya see, that's good.  Get to know your subject, ya see?   Anyhows, ya see, eatin' all these nuts, I start to get fat, ya see.  Fat like Georgie.  And finally, I gets big enough, they put me out here, ya see, in Georgie's burrow, ya see, for my big debut.  Carl, run that picture so's they can all see"

"Man is a genius, ya see.  So it's February 2, ya see, now I gotta do my big thing, ya see.  Only, ya see, I just don' get it.  Ya see"

"What's that, Mr. Squirrel?"

"Oh yeah, man, ya see, I likes that.  'Mr. Squirrel.'  Only, ya see, ya gotta puts my nickname in there.  Ya see, after this ya see I'll be know as Stevie "Stunt Double" Squirrel.  Ya see?  Yeah, you see.  Anyhows, I don't get the story about the groundhog, ya see.  Ya see, the story goes that if it's cloudy, ya see, when the groundhog comes outta its burrow, ya see, it's gonna leave its burrow meaning winter's gonna end soon, ya see?  But, ya see, iffen it's sunny then the groundhog, ya see, he's gonna see his shadow and be all freaked out by it, ya see, and run back inside like a little girl, ya see, meanin' winter's gonna stick around for another six weeks.  Ya see?"

"That is my understanding of the tale, yes."

"It makes no sense though, ya see?  Ya see, iffen Ima gonna poke my head outta this burrow, ya see, and it's cold, Ima gonna go back inside, ya see, where's it all warm and cozy and I gots a hot little squirrel babe waitin' for me.  Ya see?"


"But iffen I pokes my head out and it's sunny?  Stevie "Stunt Double" Squirrel, ya see, he ain't gonna run from his shadow, ya see.  No way.  Iffen it's sunny, Ima gonna go lie out in that sun, ya see.  Gets me a tan."


"And, ya see, iffen it's cold, ya see, that should mean that winter's here, ya see, and she's stayin'.  But iffen it be sunny, ya see, then winter, ya see, that bitch is on her way out.  Ya see?"


"Dude.  You had it goin' on there, ya see, for a while, but now you's back to these one word things, ya see.  Go to Carl, ya see.  Learn from him.  Ya see?"


"Just tryin' ta help, man, ya see.  Anyhows, ya see, I thought of one other thing.  What if it's cold, ya see, but sunny?  Like today here in Oregon.  That prima donna Punxsutawney Phil mighta not seen his shadow today, ya see, predictin' an early spring ya see, but they's got a blizzard back east, ya see, they be doin' a lotta wishful thinkin', ya see?  And that Phil, ya see, he's gotta lotta corporate sponsors, ya see.  Ya can't really trust him, ya see?"


"Well, it's 10:30, it's time ya see for my big debut.  Yep, time for my---  What?  What?  A frickin' hedgehog?   Whattaya mean, a hedgehog is traditional?  Where's my agent?  After all those nuts---SAG is gonna hear about this!  Ya see!!  I won't be pushed outta the limelight for a hedgehog -- and an African pygmy hedgehog at that!  C'mon, baby, as soon as I can get my fat ass outta this burrow we're outta here!"


"Breaking news, Monica.  This is Carl Palmer coming to you live from the Oregon Zoo where local reporter Rod Hardwick has just had a nervous breakdown.  Are you getting this footage, Monica?"

"It's coming through perfectly, Carl.  Congratulations on your promotion!"

"Thanks Monica!  Still no news on whether an early spring will come to Oregon....."

Happy Groundhog Day everyone!

the CilleyGirl