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when the words don’t come…..

October 31, 2012

Hi there.  Remember me?  I can’t believe it’s been about 5 weeks since I’ve written anything here.  Oh, I compose lots of things in my head when I’m out running but when I come home and sit down to write………nothing.  There’s nothing there.  It’s as if everything falls out of my head as soon as I sit down.  There’s lots of things I would tell you about if we were sitting down to talk, but writing?  That’s a whole other thing.  So today, I’ll give you a glimpse into what I’ve been doing the last five weeks, written the way I think – kind of disjointed.

…I rode Amtrak to Milwaukee and was really surprised at how different an experience it was from taking daily commuter trains.  The ride was smooth and quiet and there were a lot of empty seats.  I watched the sun come up (it was a very early train), read my book on my iPad Kindle app and drank my coffee.  For just $24 each way I’d do it again in a minute.  Especially since I didn’t experience any de-railing that seems to plague Amtrak.

…I volunteered at the Chicago Marathon, posted at an aide station handing out water and Gatorade between miles 10 and 11.  What a terrific experience.  We arrived at 5:30 in the morning to set up the tables, make the Gatorade and fill lots and lots of cups.  The excitement as the racers approached was something special.  It was really inspiring to see the wheel chair racers go by and I wondered with each of them what their story was.  Why were they in a wheel chair?  Had they been in a wheel chair since birth? Was it caused by an accident or maybe they had served in our military?  It’s the stories that really interest me.

Next came the Elite runners who went by looking like they hadn’t even broken a sweat.  The rest of the runners, many of them running their first marathon, were inspiring as well.  Some wore shirts with their name on the front making it easy to holler out and cheer them on.  Others wore the name of the person or charity that they were running for.  Each of them has their own story of what it was that motivated them to train all summer to run 26.2 miles through the streets of Chicago.  No one wanted to stop and share their story with me though.  Something about the clock ticking and having another 16 or so miles to run.

…I’m volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s Hospital.  I serve as a Family Ambassador which means I welcome families as they arrive, give them a tour of the house and answer any questions they may have.  It’s just a couple of times a month, but it’s nice to be a part of an organization that’s doing so much to help families who have very sick children.

…I ran a 5K on a runway at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.  That was a cool experience.  The run was sponsored by United Airlines and was a fund-raiser for the Wounded Warrior Project.  The Wounded Warrior Project is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “honor and empower wounded warriors” of the United States Armed Forces.  Before the race started United presented a check for $25000 to the Project and it was nice to be a part of that.  In true airline fashion though the run was about 15 minutes late getting started because they couldn’t get everyone to the starting line on time.  Once we took off we headed out on a service road to runway 9L/27R.

I was really surprised at how sticky the runway was where all of the tire skid marks were from landing.  I ended that race with my best 5K time ever.

…I’ll bore you with one more thing.  Mike and I went to a really fun Halloween Party (ok, it was a pub crawl) last weekend. Mike’s friends have gone to the pub crawl for most of the 32 years that it’s taken place and there are always different people who can make it each year.  So, funny story,  I put my hand out to introduce myself to someone I hadn’t met only to find out that he and I had worked together more than 10 years ago and he is a friend of one of Mike’s friends.  Small world.

…Ok, back to cooking.  I’ve made lots of things in these five weeks and then not told you about them because I didn’t like the pictures (shrimp and white bean salad) or I didn’t take any pictures (tuna burgers) or, as I said up top, I wrote the post in my head and nowhere else.  I will share with you this recipe for vegetarian chili that Mike and I enjoyed a couple of weeks ago.  The picture isn’t perfect, but not much in life is.  Enjoy it anyway.

Vegetarian Chili
adapted slightly from Martha Stewart

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced medium
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
1 medium zucchini, diced into 1/2 inch dice
6 oz tomato paste
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
3/4 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat until shimmering.  Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring to prevent the garlic from burning, until the onion is translucent and soft, about 4 minutes.  Add cumin and chili powder and stir, cooking for about one minute.  Add zucchini and tomato paste.  Cook, stirring frequently until the tomato paste is a deep brick-red color, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the black beans, cannellini beans, both cans of diced tomatoes and two cups of water.  Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook about 20 minutes.  Add the corn and cook an additional 5 minutes.

Serve with your choice of condiments.  We like grated cheddar cheese, sour cream and a tortilla chip or two.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 1, 2012 5:39 am

    The chili looks delicious! You mentioned that the words wouldn’t come, but you had plenty to say….It was nice to read the post and read what you’ve been up to. The volunteer activities you mentioned sound very rewarding, I’m sure you must enjoy them. Looking forward to your next post.

    • November 1, 2012 9:01 am

      Thanks Angie.  I really do enjoy the volunteering and keeping busy.   

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