April

#92 Running Bridges

01 April 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

I clocked in an eight mile run this week. That’s another new personal best.

Exactly one more month until the half-marathon. This has never felt more possible and even if I don’t get onore ounce of enjoyment out of it, I’ve already liked it a lot more than I expected to. Did I mention that I’ve even acquired a bit of a taste for GU? That’s happened too.

There’s a number of reasons I’m running this half but a big one is to raise some money for Liberty in North Korea. I’m still a good ways away from my goal, but there is time. Please support me at classy.org/lazarorescue

#93 Beigface

02 April 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

This freaking dog… so loved… so nuts.

I’m pretty sure we took home the most entertaining dog we could have. This one has so much personality, from being afraid of basically everything, burping more than any dog I’ve seen, having more energy than anyone knows what to do with, and being the nosiest, we’ve come to love it all.

So thankful for the weekends that let me spend more time with Beignet and Deanna, the ladies of the house.

#94 The Covered Bridges Bikeway

03 April 2016 // Dorena, Oregon

Was it a good Sunday? I guess you could say that.

I discovered how cheap it was to rent a pretty good quality bike from UO and noticed that the weather was perfect for a scenic ride.

Did 26+ miles on the Covered Bridges Bikeway into some deep rural towns and over rickety bridges. It was my first time in Dorena, where pretty much everyone had a pistol holster on.

#95 Meaning of Adventure

04 April 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

In between adventures I like to read about adventures.

Yesterday I sat down with some friends and talked about some of the Oregon adventures we have yet to really do, but that we hope to in the upcoming months… Crater Lake, the Painted Hills, Hellsgate.

For years my definition of adventure seemed to be a purely aesthetic one. Mountains in the background. A tent somewhere in the mix. And really, I love that stuff.

At the same time, backpacking has never been easier. Same with international travel. It’s all so accessible and more people are doing it.

I’m thankful for that, because I’ve benefitted from the time in which I love big time. But I don’t want adventure to be defined as an aesthetic. Something is an adventure as much as it grows you and challenges you and tests you. That could be paragliding or parenthood or taking your parents paragliding and figuring out how to have a healthy adult relationship with them.

Whatever it is, just be challenged. That’s the adventure.

#96 Cream Puffs & IPA

05 April 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Race training is intensifying. That also means when I’m not running, my resting methods are also intensifying, as is my carb count.

This week that meant chasing down my long run with Deanna’s custard cream puffs and a decent IPA.

With all the trendy foods that have come in and out of the public spotlight rapidly, custard remains underappreciated. Lets right that wrong people. #planforflan

#97 Delta Ponds City Park

06 April 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

This week’s long run was a gorgeous one. Sunlight. Great scenery. Also, nine miles! This used to feel way more impossible.

I actually think I’m going to miss being on this training plan when the race is over. I mean, no big, I can always train for something else or go run just to run, but I love the weekly feel of beating my best, having an event to train for, and being surprised I can actually pull this off.

So weird to think that I actually enjoy running in a lot of ways. This contradicts with what I’ve the first quarter century of my life.

Three more weeks! And there’s still time to support Deanna and I via our fundraising page at stayclassy.org/lazarorescue

#98 The $100 Start Up

07 April 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

“Value is created when a person makes something useful and shares it with the world.”

Even though I’m not starting a start-up (at least not now, but this book did get some wheels turning!) I figured one of Chris Guillebeau’s earlier books would have something to offer and I was pretty right about that.

The whole idea of having something, maybe even a few things that could help enrich people’s lives resonated the most with me. I don’t know if I’ve ever been as attentive of other people’s needs or what I might have to offer as I am now.

#99 Friday Night at Jordan’s

08 April 2016 // Creswell, Oregon

Had a really good Friday evening at our friends Dan and Jordan’s place around a campfire. And Jordan makes a mean Moscow mule, which only added to the experience.

So glad to be out of the dead of winter, if for no other reason than the fact that it makes more evenings like this one possible. The earliest warm weekends were made for this sort of thing.

The past several weekends have been so full of life, and I’m thankful for that. The workload has picked back up and I often find myself surprised by the amount of things I’ve committed to. But I think one thing that’s made it a much healthier and happier period is knowing how much I’ve had outside of routines and work to enjoy. In college, my school’s between-the-lines motto was “work hard, play hard.” Years after I’ve left, it still applies.

#100 Making Sushi

09 April 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

This weekend, Deanna and I stayed in, ran errands, and made sushi rolls at home.

We managed one ahi maki roll, a Philly roll, and a couple of sinus clearing pieces of nigiri that I kind of went too far on with the wasabi.

Really happy with how these came out, overall. Will be sharing these recipes soon.

#101 Starting Our Garden

10 April 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

I know next to nothing about growing plants. I love the outdoors and I love food, so you’d think it would be a pretty natural intersection but the most gardening I’ve ever done was that second grade project where I used food coloring to turn celery blue.

To me gardening seems like strategically burying tiny things and hoping for the best. So that’s what I did this weekend.

As a sign I have no idea what I’m doing, it felt weird using only a very small portion of the basil seeds in the pack so I did everything I could to get more egg cartons to start them in. Deanna tells me I way overdid it and that if I’m successful, I’ll have a basil forest on my hands. I don’t see a problem with that. Forests of basil create swamplands of pesto.

#102 Sriracha BBQ Sauce

11 April 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Yesterday I got to whip up some homemade barbecue sauce as the next item of this year’s 52 culinary missions.

More specifically, I got to whip up a Tennessee whiskey and molasses sriracha barbecue sauce. Smoky with just the right amount of heat.

And since barbecue sauce alone does not a full dinner make, (trust me, I tried) I also grilled up some brisket and made it into sliders.

Like most recipes, this one lives on my blog.

#103 Bangus Tacos

12 April 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Bangus (said like bung-OOS) is a popular milkfish in the Philippines usually served fried, grilled, or broiled and with vinegar, soy sauce, or other acidic flavors.

It also presented me with a good challenge to figure out how to incorporate it into my series of Filipino food inspired tacos. The texture doesn’t exactly lend itself well to classic fish tacos, yet this is one of the most important fishes to the cuisine and the series wouldn’t be complete without some seafood.

So I broiled some bangus with a vinegar and olive oil wash. I then shredded most of the meat with a fork and caramelized onions. A crispy shell seemed to best compliment the meat so I folded tacos and deep fried, and finished with a side of lime juice and drizzle of my sriracha BBQ sauce.

#104 Amazon/Rexius

13 April 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

The half marathon day is getting closer and closer.

We’ve officially entered the last week of full-training. Today I ran around nine miles. I’ll peak at eleven before I call it a recovery week until the race.

Like I keep saying, I’m still surprised that I enjoy running as much as I do. This does not compute with my past experiences.

#105 Sriracha Bloody Mary

14 April 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

With so many overlapping ingredients, I figured why not spend Thirsty Thursday by some bloody mary using a lot of the same things I used to put together a barbecue sauce this week.

Deanna and I are pretty big fans of bloody marys. Ever since we started traveling together, she’s gotten me into the habit of requesting for bloody mary mix as my beverage of choice while on an airplane. The strong spicy and salty flavors are appreciated at an altitude.

Also, Crater Lake’s pepper vodka is exceptionally smooth. I’m not the biggest fan of most vodkas and most flavored vodkas strike me as tacky, but this is a great exception. Smooth without such a pungent bite and it has a good chipotle-like taste.

#106 Papa’s Chicken & Waffles

15 April 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

You know you’re a great place to eat when I deem the hour long wait for a table to be worth it.

Papa’s Soul Food, you’re that kind of place and it’s been far too long. Easily my favorite place to eat in Eugene.

And, happy to see chicken and waffles pop up as a special. Probably the most American item to foodspot.

#107 Camp Tumalo

16 April 2016 // Tumalo, Oregon

A party without cake is just a meeting.

– Julia Child

A party without cake or s’mores is just a meeting.

– Julia Child, Philippe Remix

So happy to have gone out for our first camping weekend of the season. It feels so good to be back in tents and roasting marshmallows and oyster mushrooms. May many more follow this summer.

#108 The Painted Hills

17 April 2016 // Painted Hills, Oregon

Once upon a time, this was a forest.

Now, it’s basically Mars.

Seven Wonders of Oregon status: three down, four to go.

#109 Training for 13.1

18 April 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

This week kicks off the last week of full training before the half marathon. Next week begins the cool-down process of tapering.

The half-marathon has never felt more do-able. The fact that I’ve made it this far and can make an eleven mile run pretty easily means that running a half feels within reach.

Training has been a much more enjoyable process than I imagined. Looking forward to seeing it culminate in a couple of weeks.

#110 Pre’s Trail

19 April 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure one of them is Pre’s Trail.”

–Quote from the shirt I’m wearing on race day

This is it! I finished my last week of full training with an 11 mile long run. Early morning at Pre’s Trail made this an especially pleasant run and best of all, I finished with a pace in the 9:40s at a long distance three times in a row now, which is almost two minutes faster than the pace I thought I would have.

Mostly, I’m surprised at being able to handle these long runs. I used to hate running two miles, and common logic generally suggests that if you hate two of something, signing up for eleven won’t be very pleasant. Congrats to running for being such a mold breaker.

#111 Sprouting

20 April 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

We’ve got growth! Hopefully in a couple months these guys will be the stars of summer hits like pesto sauce or mixed cocktails.

A good part of me was never expecting to see the seeds again once I buried them. Good job, nature.

Also while we’re on the topic of basic agriculture, I wanna shoutout Opportunity International’s micro loan program. Checked it out myself the other day and I’m impressed. Still learning the ropes of the microlending process, but learning by doing is the best.

#112 Gâteau de Crêpes á la Florentine

21 April 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

What’s that? Layered crêpes with béchamel sauce, spinach, and mushrooms.

My wife feeds me well.

So well I have more leftover for lunch today.

#113 Palabok

22 April 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Palabok is a really underrated Filipino noodle dish with its own distinct orange shrimp gravy, and toppings that usually include citrus, shrimp, and crushed peanuts or pork rinds.

I’ve also made it before, but I used a packet to make the gravy. My aunts insisted that it wouldn’t be that hard to make it from scratch, so I put it on my list of things to make.

Turns out, my aunts are actually culinary magicians. Anatto powder, the orange stuff in the gravy is a really stubborn ingredient and it was hard to get the texture right.

This probably won’t go down as the best item I made all year, but it was alright and I know exactly what I would do differently next time. I got some ideas for the next time I get to give it a shot.

#114 Spencer’s Butte Hike

23 April 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Found myself on Spencer’s Butte. We’ve lived right next to it for close to a year now, but it’s taken quite a while for us to finally hike up there. Our last time was before we got married.

Went with a couple of friends, took my dog, and made i to the top before even having breakfast.

You can bet that Beignet loved every second of this. Every person we passed noted that she looked like the happiest creature alive.

#115 A Hologram for the King

24 April 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

“Live long enough and you’ll disappoint everyone. People think you’re able to help them and usually you can’t. And so it becomes a process of choosing the one or two people you try hardest not to disappoint. The person in my life I am determined not to disappoint is you.”

― Dave EggersA Hologram for the King

I liked this book a lot and I look forward to being able to see the movie. I think it has the sort of story that might actually lend itself better to a film adaptation.

Plus, even if the movie disappoints, that was one of the themes of the book. And Tom Hanks covering Talking Heads in the trailer leads me to believe that it won’t.

#116 Be Like Sean Ferry

25 April 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Public Service Announcement for all those looking for a positive role model in your life… Sean Ferry. Be like that guy.

Thanks a lot for contributing to my half marathon fundraiser Sean!

Deanna and I are raising the funds for a a North Korean refugee get to freedom through our half-marathon. $3,000 is the cost of a refugee rescue through Liberty in North Korea and we’re aiming to get halfway there by the end of our half-marathon.

#117 Pasta Making

26 April 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

With a half-marathon scheduled for Sunday, which means that we’ll be carbo-loading the night before.

And since I’m already putting my pasta making tools to work, I figured we might as well open up our house and extend the invite to everybody. And since we’re running to support Liberty in North Korea, we figured we might as well eat in support of them as well.

For $15, which is what you’d pay for a similar meal at a restaurant, we gave our friends a night of carbs, and getting to know that the money goes towards helping North Korean refugees get to freedom.

Also, I’ve never made so much food in bulk for so many people.

#118 Race Gear

27 April 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

At the age of 25 I got married, adopted a Beignet, and visited several of my favorite places in the world.

With one week left of being 25, I’m adding a half marathon to that list.

Here’s the minimal gear I like to run with… my race day shirt, some GU, and an iPhone armband. And that’s pretty much it.

#119 Opportunity Village

28 April 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

This week I got to consult with a group trying to open a homeless shelter in Redmond. They’re interested in a tiny homes plan.

Thankfully one thing Eugene does really well is a housing program that works on multiple areas of the issue, so I joined them on a site visit. Their tiny home village was really impressive, and a mad success. It’s made local city manages, police chiefs, and unhoused people all very happy.

The minister who runs this told me that on the first day somebody had to get kicked out for being too drunk and rowdy and he thought he had created a disaster. But in retrospect, it was one of the best things to have happened to his project. The village council led by residents voted him to be removed, he was able to get addiction help elsewhere, and the system actually worked.

I was impressed by the design of a bunch of these modules, and the community yurt and gazebo. I’d love to take on building one of these some day.

#120 Tracktown, USA

29 April 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Why live in Wack-Town, when you could live in Track Town??? Come to Eugene.

Okay, so the City of Eugene Planning Dept. wasn’t so hot on my tag line for the city, but hey, it’s the birthplace of Nike, the old stomping grounds of Bill Bowerman, and home turf of running legend Steve Prefontaine’s.

All that makes me glad it’ll be the site of my first half marathon. And also, it’s home. That’s also nice.

#121 A Charitable Carboload

30 April 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Twas the night before race day and we decided that rather than doing a simple carboload by ourselves we would cook up an insane amount of pastas, invite a bunch of people, and make a fundraiser out of it.

Cooked up a lasagna plus three pastas times three sauces. Had a good crowd over of runners and supporters alike. I’ve never cooked in bulk like this before but my undersized kitchen made me feel like Jon Favreau in Chef.

And the most fun stat was this- we haven’t done the full math yet but it looks like this event will have raised around $200 for LiNK. Carbs for a cause!