Sunday, August 26, 2012

Nike App for Running

My husband has moved me into the 21st century. He gave me an iPhone and iPad for my birthday.  I didn't think I needed either and so I acted excited when I opened them, even though I wasn't all that thrilled.  OH MY GOSH!  How did I live for 55 years without them?  My husband now likens me to our son when he got his first Nintendo.  I simply can't help myself.  A question pops into my head and now I can find instant answers.  It's incredible.

Whenever I run, I like to know how many miles and what kind of incredibly fast pace I've run.  In the olden days (2 months ago), I would wear a stop watch and then clock my route with the car after I finished.  It worked for the most part, unless I went off-roading.  Now, with my Nike running app, I know as I'm running my mileage, pace, and how long I've been running.  A lady updates me every mile.  The first time I used it, I didn't know about the lady and thought people were behind me talking.  Of course, I had my iPod playing separately, since I hadn't downloaded any music to my phone, so I couldn't tell where the sound was coming from.  Now I have my music and phone all in one.  The lady's voice comes through my headset.  No more turning around to find nobody there.

Running in Charlotte has been a challenge.  When we first got here, it was so hot.  I like to run when the temp is in the 60's.  The low temps in July and early August were in the 70's.  I don't do well in heat.  We've turned the corner in the past week and it's perfect in the early morning.

Secondly, I can't leave the house without going down a hill, which leads to the problem of having to run up them when I come home.  My route yesterday was the hilliest yet.  Thankfully, now that I have my phone with me on my runs, I can always call 911.

Lastly, in Michigan, whenever I came upon other runners, I would say "hi", or at least nod my head, and I always got a response.  Here in Charlotte, I say hi and people don't even glance my way.  After a few rejections, I tell myself I'm not going to say hi anymore.  Of course, when I come upon the next runner, I have to say hi and, of course, I get nothing.  For the most part, people elsewhere in Charlotte have been very friendly.  I guess the runners here take their exercise seriously.

We have a greenway near the house 
we're renting.  It's great.

 I like the boardwalk portions of the greenway
as there is less likelihood of seeing snakes.

Keep your eyes open for things 
moving in the grass.

One of the many mega-churches in Charlotte.

I love running down the tree-lined 
boulevards here.

An example of the hilly streets.  
They're a bear as I get older.

My routes take me by several golf courses.  
They make for nice scenery.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Southern Food

I love to cook, but for some reason, I felt like going out this weekend.  Friday evening, we tried an Italian restaurant within walking distance of our house.  It was okay, but didn't make me emit yummy sounds.  Saturday evening, we tried an "Asian fusion" (or so it said on the outside) restaurant, but it turned out to be traditional Chinese food.  We should have known when we walked in the door and the place was virtually empty that it was a sign to turn and run.  But we didn't listen to our inner instincts and were batting 0-2 for good restaurants.

But fear not--we hit it big today.  After church this morning (a dynamic sermon, by the way--go to's message should be posted soon), we decided to go to a restaurant called The Flying Biscuit.  Oh my!  I can feel my coronary arteries clogging up already.

For any southerners reading this, you may want to sit down, as I'm sure you can't imagine that this is true goes.  I have never had grits before.  Shocking, but true.  They look like Cream of Wheat to me, and I can't say I'm a big fan.  My husband ordered them with his Mexican breakfast wrap and I tried a bite--which turned into 2, then 3, then 4.  I was expecting something grainy and sweet, and these were savory and creamy.  I asked the waiter how they prepared them and he mentioned three words: cream, cheese, and butter.  Yikes!  No wonder they're so good.

Thankfully, I ordered the Hollywood Omelet which was made with egg whites, mushrooms, spinach, and tomato coulis with a small bowl of fruit, instead of grits.

Did I mention the white cheddar cheese in the omelet and the lard laden biscuit on the side?  It was heavenly! Speaking of heaven, I may be there sooner than I think as I feel like I've been having angina since we walked out the door.

 A happy customer!

On the positive side, grits and biscuits may be my job security.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

North Carolina Sites

Our daughter and son-in-law came to visit a couple of weeks ago.  We had been wanting to go see the Biltmore Estate and this was the excuse we needed to go.

The Biltmore is located in Asheville, NC, which is about 130 miles west of Charlotte.  We left after church on Sunday--about 10:45 a.m.  We were getting hungry for lunch and didn't see anything of interest along the highway, so we took a detour to Lake Lure to find a restaurant with a view.  Larkin's on the Lake fit the bill and was well worth the extra time and miles.

Our view during lunch

By the time we got to the Biltmore, it was after 2:00 p.m., so we quickly went to the house and took a self guided tour.  Annie did the honors of reading the narratives about each room.  It was like stepping back in time.  It was much like the TV show Downton Abbey.  I could picture the staff hanging out in their quarters and the family changing clothes 5-6 times a day for all their functions.

We checked out some of the gardens and then headed over to the winery.  We weren't too impressed with the wines.  (They might want to focus on making grape jam.)  We finished up with dinner at Cedric's Tavern and then headed back to Charlotte.

My husband and I are going to go back and spend a night at the hotel so we can take advantage of the activities.  They have miles of paths that would be great to hike and bike on.  They also have fly-fishing, raft trips down the river, horseback riding, Land Rover adventures, and sporting clays.

 View from the back porch

 My husband wants to do something 
like this with our patio.  
Unfortunately, we'll be long gone by
the time the trees mature.

If you've never been, you need to check it out.  The house and grounds are beautiful and the history is fascinating.  It's like taking a mini-vacation to Europe--or not.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chick-fil-a -- I had never experienced it until moving to Charlotte.  My husband and I needed something quick for lunch one day and so we decided to give it a shot.  The drive through lane had at least twenty cars backed up so we were definitely going inside.  I opted for the Chargrilled and Fruit Salad which turned out to be awesome.

It had grilled chicken, Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses, fresh strawberries, red grapes, apples, mandarin oranges, and granola, over mixed greens with a berry balsamic vinaigrette.  All of that for only 230 calories and 6 grams of fat.  I was feeling so healthy.  Then my husband pulled out the package of chocolate chunk cookies he had surreptitiously purchased.  Yes, I said package.  He didn't buy just one--he got the package of six.  Well, I have to tell you, you cannot eat just one.  These cookies are soooo good.  Since I had only had the salad, I indulged in two cookies, all the time thinking, "How bad can they be?"  Of course, I didn't check it out until long after they were into my digestive system and moving toward my hips.  Here's the skinny--320 calories per cookie with 14 grams of fat.

They do have 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber, so at least there are some redeeming qualities.  I feel so much better.