Wednesday, August 31, 2011

On the Edge of 17 - Still

circa '88 - note the shirt
Last night I revisited my all too brief girlhood when I took in Stevie Nicks at SPAC.  I must admit, I wouldn't have even considered going to this show, but the opportunity arose for me to take some photos for the TU SEEN gallery and it was a beautiful late August night, so to Saratoga I went.

A little history here (as if that photo on the left doesn't tell you more than everything you might want to know), Fleetwood Mac's Rumours album was the first record that pierced my existence.  I have such strong memories of those songs...definitely a desert island album for me.  My first big rock show in 1981 was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at the Brendan Byrne Arena.  Imagine my  excitement when Stevie came out to perform Stop Dragging My Heart Around with Tom and the band!  Note to those who may have caught that same tour but weren't fortunate enough to see Stevie: Sorry, it was the only time NJ was cooler than NY.  Ever.

During my teens when Stevie Nicks had a couple of big solo records, the girls and I were avid fans and, as the photo attests, I've got had the t-shirt to prove it.  We wore out a couple of cassette copies of Bella Donna and The Wild Heart doing laps around town in Mary Lynn's Camaro, believe me.  I'll never know if it was the husky voice, the cascading blond hair or the sensitive, yet strong lyrics, but I was hooked.  

Last night's show was simply a blast!  Walking around SPAC with a camera is really fun and the folks I asked to pose were totally into it - thank you all for being so gracious.  And thank you, Sally, for being such an excellent beer holder, I mean assistant. The crowd was small with only amphitheater tickets available in an attempt to keep things intimate.  The opening act, Michael Grimm, was good although we honestly didn't pay much attention because I was trying to catch some photos before the main event.  And Stevie?  Well, she talked a lot and she changed her clothes a few times, something I'm no longer accustomed to.  Guess it's been awhile since I saw a female performer live.  But, her voice?  It was money!  She sounded great - perhaps not hitting every high note as she may have in days gone past, but that beautiful husky quality is still there and she sang with a lot of heart.  Landslide and Dreams were definite highlights for me, and the crowd in general, judging from the sing along I witnessed.  Ok, the sing along I may have participated in.  And, while I have no interest in being 17 again, it is nice to know that my senior high quote, courtesy of Stevie, remains timelessly accurate:  "I have my own life and I am stronger than you know."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tomato Pie

Ah, late August, the season for earthquakes, hurricanes and tomatoes in upstate New York.  For the record, of the three, I prefer a glut of tomatoes over an excess of seismic activity or a deluge of rain accompanied by ridiculous winds.  

I took a bike ride Saturday to the Troy Farmer's Market to pick up a gallon (What? You don't buy your maple syrup by the gallon?!) of maple syrup.  Naturally, when you're riding a bike with saddlebags, as is true with many of life's experiences,  balance is important.  So, I picked up some gorgeous tomatoes, beautiful peaches and peppery arugula, in my quest to keep on an even keel as I rode back to the DelSo.  The maple syrup is for the impressive number of pancakes and/or waffles the Lilly boys can put away, as well as for adding a touch of sweetness to roasted squash and root vegetables as the season changes and I begin cooking autumnal style.  But, let's not rush things because there are still plenty of tomatoes to be eaten and I'm suggesting you enjoy some of them in a tomato pie.

Before baking

After
The basis of the recipe came from the August 2011 issue of Bon Appetit. Of course, I didn't really measure closely and I ignored the dill called for in the recipe and substituted basil and flat leaf parsley instead, with great results.  I also did not have Parmesan so I used some Asiago instead.  I found the buttermilk dough to be a bit onerous to work with.  Maybe I needed it to be colder to successfully roll it out?  A wider plastic wrap would probably have been helpful as the circumference of the dough exceeded the width of the plastic wrap making things challenging.  Or perhaps, I just suck at dealing with dough.  Anyway - it may not have been beautiful, but, it sure was tasty.  And, unlike Hurricane Tropical Storm Irene, this dish lived up to the hype.   

PS - I sincerely hope you all made it through the storm safely with minimal damage. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Prep ~ Lilly Boy Style


Is there a better way to prepare for a major tropical storm than practicing getting tossed around by water and wind?  I don't think so!  Screw that filling up the tub with water nonsense and buying more toilet paper than a typical family of four uses in a month of eating tacos.  Not here - we prepared for the elements.  We built up our tolerance for being splashed in the face and getting our feet and bodies drenched.  Bring it on, Irene!

We're at the point in the summer when we make a mad dash to attempt to squeeze in all the adventures and escapades possible to reflect upon during Albany's long(ish) winter. Zoom Flume has been on our to-do list ever since I cut that $5 from the Times Union months ago.  The fact that I could put my hands on said coupon is a reflection of my mad organizational skills - and the fact that 20 bucks is 20 bucks and I wasn't tossing that away recklessly.  Speaking of reckless...
See that shadow of a boy in the Mighty Anaconda?  That's my Quinn, who decided yesterday to brave all the attractions I would permit, despite his newly acquired, rather crude, swimming skills.  Damn him and his excessive height (48" at age 6!) because now he can basically partake in any of the attractions other than one which specifies swimming ability as a requirement.  I must admit, his big brothers were awesome lifeguards for him, remaining in the water to shepard Quinn out as necessary.  Good job, guys!

Zoom Flume is less than an hour south of Albany and a perfect place to give your kids a little length in their leash.  It's small with maybe 10 or 12 water rides and/or play areas.  I may get one more season of all three boys being entertained with what's offered here - beyond that, I think we'll be aging out.  It's one of those old school, Irish Alps kind of places.  They're really chill about allowing you to bring in picnic items and the folks who work there are pretty pleasant.  Unlike last year when we visited Great Escape, at about the same point in the summer, ZF is fully staffed with all attractions open.  The lines were really short, parking was convenient (and free) and we left there feeling as if we got good value for $20 per person. 
Is it fancy?  Nope.  Is it well maintained and clean?  Yep.  New for 2011 was the Riptide Cove Wave Pool, a smallish wave pool that the boys found to be a little "lame" after days spent swimming off Chappaquiddick earlier this month.  If you're lucky enough to have less blase' children than I do, I'm sure they'd find it to be enjoyable.  The best part of that particular attraction for me, was the available chaise lounge where I was comfortable enough with the safety of the pool to grab a quick nap. 

The ZF season runs until 9/5 so there's still time to get there, assuming we all survive Irene.  Better go prepare for Mother Nature's next temper tantrum by filling up the bathtub with water.  And bubbles!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Summer Steak Salad



Arugula, lightly dressed with special Ligurian olive oil and fresh lemon juice, topped with sliced London broil, local beefsteak tomatoes, sliced fresh mozzarella, slivers of red onion and a chiffonade of my own basil.  Who says salad isn't manly?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mussels!

Last week I picked up 2lbs of live mussels at Price Chopper for the incredible price of $2.99.  Yep - not a typo, less than $1.50 per pound!  This may be the cheapest least expensive meal I've ever cooked, macaroni with butter and onions and Parmesan aside.

Coincidentally, as I flipped around the television on the very same day, there was an episode of Secrets of a Restaurant Chef on and she, too, was cooking mussels.  Weird, huh?

I missed the beginning of her demo, but saw enough to know that I was on the right track with my own sensibilities regarding how to prepare these babies.  What follows is one of the easiest, low budget, delicious recipes eva!  Sweat some chopped onion and minced garlic in a combination of olive oil and butter - just enough fat to coat the pot and the vegetables.  Dump your mussels in the pot and pour in a couple of cups of white wine. Cover and cook over medium high heat for about 3 minutes.  Toss in a coarsely chopped plum tomato or two and a handful of fresh herbs - parsley, basil, rosemary, whatever you've got in any combination which you find pleasing.  Cover and cook 2 more minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and serve with grilled crusty bread.  Done.  My 2 lbs provided me with a satisfying light dinner with enough leftovers to treat my neighbors, recently returned to the DelSo following  some time spent with family, to a surprise appetizer.  Mussels - yummy to eat and fun to share.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fish Tacos - a visual love letter

Grilled Halibut, baby mesclun, sour cream, salsa, flour tortillas - made at home


Grilled cod, red cabbage slaw, aioli - Aquinnah, MA


Grilled tilapia, guacamole, salsa, cilantro cream - Sharky's, Oak Bluffs, MA

CQ Researcher aka Curious Quinn


Fellow librarians will be disappointed to discover that I am not going to devote a DelSo post to CQ Researcher, a fantastic reference tool published by Congressional Quarterly.  I am most certainly an enthusiastic fan of the database, however, the topic today is Quinn and his current phase of curiosity, particularly about life and death.


While we were away earlier this month, Q showed an interest in Cleo, a dog I had for a good chunk of my late teens and through my entire 20's.  When it was Cleo's time, I decided that having her cremated was the way to go.  I even paid extra to have her privately cremated to ensure that the plastic bag of powdery ash and disconcertingly large bone pieces were hers and hers alone.  For the past 12 or 14 years she has resided in a covered piece of pottery on a bookshelf, still spoken of occasionally but gradually becoming eclipsed by Cassidy Bono Lilly, our family's 10 year-old lab.  Quinn wanted to know what happened to her after she died and I decided to be honest and explained the process of cremation and told him where she was in our house.  I think I may have had a single day home, after returning from the beach, before Quinn picked up the conversation again and asked to see her.  So, I took the pot down off the shelf, opened it up and gave him a good look at what remains of Cleo.  For those of you at home, here's the unopened crypt:
Not a bad final resting place, although I have instructed the Lilly boys that I would prefer my ashes to eventually be scattered in Greenwood Lake, the Hudson River, and the Atlantic off the coast of Wellfleet.  No rush on that, by the way.  Quinn's curiosity seems to satisfied for the moment because he has an interest now in eggs...

Last week he asked me if I had anymore eggs - an odd question from a child who doesn't eat them fried, poached or scrambled.  "Of course," I said, "They're in the fridge."  "No, not those eggs," he replied. I sat down with a little sigh.  I knew where this was going.  Apparently he was wondering if I had anymore baby eggs because he wants a baby sister.  Now, believe me, if he had any idea how many of those baby eggs it took to get him, I imagine he would have shown a bit more sensitivity in his request - especially since he was supposed to have been the baby sister to the two older Lilly boys.  I think the only way I eventually got out of that conversation was by pointing out that his neighborhood friends had a new baby sister at their house and that they just might be willing to share her with him.  (Sorry, Maisie, I think he'll be gentle.)  And, when all else fails and Curious Quinn threatens to be relentless in his pursuit of knowledge beyond his years, I've discovered a surefire way to silence him, albeit on a temporary basis.
I would not trade this boy for the world.

Friday, August 19, 2011

New Old Bling

So, I've had this belt of my mother's for about 20 years.  It never fit me, so I can't imagine how it ever fit her, (which may be why I got it to begin with) but, I've always loved it.  Over the years, the belt had fallen into a state of disrepair, yet, I didn't have the heart to abandon it to the trash.  During my recent home rearrangement I once again came across the belt and greeted it with a sigh.  But, this time the sigh was followed by an aha moment.  I realized that I knew a person who could use her talents to create a unique, wearable item from the shambles of this by now vintage belt.  Elissa Halloran to the rescue. And just look what she made!  I immediately put this necklace on and imagine I will be working it into the rotation with great frequency because it makes me feel like Isis when I wear it.  I am absolutely in love.

Speaking of love, you know I have big love for Elissa and consider myself a collector of sorts of her jewelry, particularly her fabulous necklaces.  Please tell me you visit her shop on Lark Street.  You do, right?  Let me show you some reasons you should frequent her sweet little store on the off chance that you don't already...
One of my favorites from about 10 years ago

A special gift from my special friends, the Clancys

From me, to me

These three pieces provide a pretty good example of the variety of work Elissa does, I think.  The first piece always makes me feel like a Celtic warrior princess when I wear it - it is a strong statement necklace that speaks in an unrefined, natural voice and it really goes with most anything.  The middle necklace was a complete surprise purchased for me by friends in Boston and selected personally by Elissa for me.  That is one of the super cool things about Elissa - she knows her clientele and has helped me to choose items for friends when I have been overwhelmed by the options.  I love that middle piece because it is beautifully delicate, yet assertive at the same time - perhaps the "me" I strive to be.  The bottom piece is a favorite for sure.  The photo doesn't do the greens justice, however, trust me, it is stunning.  There is so much texture and there are so many shapes involved in this necklace, but they are balanced by Elissa's tremendous eye for design. 

First Friday is coming up soon - the perfect chance to visit Elissa's store and purchase a piece of wearable art that will bring you joy for many years to come.  Making something beautiful is Elissa's talent, wearing something beautiful should be your aspiration.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

From one bossypants to another...

image from Barnes and Noble

Since finally finishing Jonathan Franzen's Freedom I have regained my own personal freedom in selecting reading material.  For the record, I will never again read another of Franzen's self-indulgent, over-sized volumes about some of the least likable people in the universe.  Screw you, Pulitzer and National Book Award conferrers - the appeal of his stories simply escapes me.
image from Barnes and Noble

There have been a couple of things, however, which I read this summer and thoroughly enjoyed.  The first was Sarah's Key, written by Tatiana de Rosnay.  This fictional work about the roundup of Jews in France during World War II was near impossible for me to put down.  I've always had an interest in Holocaust literature and have read many books about this topic (one of my favorites is the Book Thief by Marcus Zusak), however, I was completely unfamiliar with this dark part of French history.  A movie starring Kristin Scott Thomas has just been released and I sincerely hope the filmmakers did this great little book justice. 

image from Barnes and Noble


I must admit, I feel a connection to Tina Fey.  Like me, she wears smart girl glasses and her character on 30 Rock, Liz Lemon, has an old school card catalog in her home.  For sheer fun, I can't recommend Tina Fey's book, Bossypants,  enough.  She is one hilarious lady and her voice carries consistently throughout this book as she shares her personal and professional lives with the reader.  I can't remember the last time I literally laughed out loud when reading a book, but this autobiography cracked me up.  If only Bossypants was the same length as Freedom my summer reading would have been much more balanced between enjoyable and an endurance contest.

What was on your summer reading list?  Winners?  Losers?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Warrior Dash

Myself and James - Laker Warriors!
Left big toe...right shin...heel of my left hand...Oh!  Sorry, I was a bit distracted performing an inventory of the minor injuries and bruises I racked up earlier today down at Windham Mountain.  Yes, I did the Warrior Dash, which, as you know, makes me a Warrior.  And I have the horns to prove it!

How was it?  Well organized, very pleasantly populated and a blast, pretty much sums it up for me.  Along with genuinely challenging, of course, in terms of the hills involved - both up and down.  The up part was just brutal!  I wore my crappy sneakers, a pair of Nikes that earned the "crappy" dubbing because they became too small somehow.  Ok, I realize it probably means something changed with my feet and it's not the fault of the shoes, but, still, I knew today was their last day with me.  I guess they wanted a proper, lingering goodbye and I imagine my toes are going to continue to be a bit uncomfortable for a couple of days from their overly zealous death grip hug farewell.  I tossed them on the donation pile when I was finished and I wish the best of luck to the person who receives them after they've been cleaned up.

Dash?  More like a shuffle at times
Anyway - back to the endless up...Between the density of the participants and the steepness of the hill, running was not really an option.  Getting to the top of the course took a lot out of me and at one point I was concerned about what I would have left for the obstacles.  Fortunately, my training as a mother to three boys regime left me with enough gas in the tank to plow through the obstacles.  They really weren't nearly as difficult as I imagined they would be.  In fact, I surprisingly enough, found myself in a position were I was forced to patiently wait my chance to attack an obstacle because of the pace of some of the folks ahead of me.  

The downhill bits had their own peril. Despite the rains having held off for us (thanks, Universe!), the grass was mostly sodden.  Combining the pitch of the hill, the muddy grass and my saturated sneakers, created the perfect storm of potential for injuries.  The trails that that wound through the more wooded areas were a combination of loose rocks and tree roots - definitely terrain to keep an eye out for to avoid an ankle twist or knee scrapping.  

The last of the obstacles came in rapid succession and I was kind of sad to see the finish line.  What a blast!  If you've ever seen an obstacle course and wondered what it must feel like to propel your body through it, I suggest you consider this event next year.  I know folks complain that it is pricey (less than $50 if you register early), but the price includes a good quality beer, horns and a t-shirt.  Plus, you really can't put a price on an opportunity to hang with best friends and behave like the children you were when you first met so many years ago.  And, to the poor fellow behind (ha!) me clambering over the logs in the muddy water - sorry about mooning you when my pants slipped off my ass.  Bet you didn't figure that into the price of admission!


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Pattern of the week

I do believe Ken has had some spare time this week.  Must be because he isn't pitching by helping to take care of my plants/flowers now that I'm home again.  This week's pattern is one that requires great self-control.  I mean, it must be hard to leave those alternating rows of grass long in a world that measures yard work prowess by even handed preciseness.  Here in the DelSo, though, we do things are own way and are not afraid to be a little different.  And on that note...




Do you see the pattern?  In the spots where Ken made the turns it kind of looks like the letter "L" to me, but perhaps I am projecting.  Regardless, come home soon, Lori. I think Ken is getting bored without you.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What's Barbarone???

Full disclosure: I work at the Wine Bar & Bistro on Lark Street

There are two questions I  can always count on being asked when I'm serving at the Wine Bar:  Can I get your number?  What is Poussin and what is Barbarone?  Poussin, frequently misread for poisson, is a young chicken, not fish.  And Barbarone?  Well, that's a slice of heaven on a plate.  

For my first meal back in town, sans children, I headed down to Lark Street with a craving for a thoughtfully selected glass of wine, or three, and something tasty to eat.  My dog's sitter was preparing to relinquish her back to the DelSo and I knew a good meal would make their parting easier, so I invited him to join me.  Addison is an excellent dining companion and I didn't regret extending an invitation to him until that damned Barbarone hit the table.  I did not want to share.  Oh, I'm sorry, I haven't yet described what this delectable dessert is...

As a coworker perfectly stated, Barbarone is French Toast that has had a million dollars thrown at it.  Or, more specifically, Barbarone is a wedge of challah bread which has been soaked in cream, coated with sugar, baked and then bruleed (apologies for the lack of punctuation here).  At the WBB on Lark it is finished with a simple citrus syrup of sorts and, if you really want to bang it out of the park, a glass of the La Spinetta Moscato di Asti on the side.  Oh my goodness, it may just be my new favorite dessert.  Next time, though, I'm getting my own.

The Sun Also Rises - Vineyard Haven, August 2011









Monday, August 8, 2011

What are you afraid of?



When did the thought of doing something new become an occasion we were more afraid of than challenged by?

I've been thinking about fear and its ability to paralyze a person. How many opportunities do we deny ourselves because we are afraid of what may happen if we take that step in a new direction? In many ways, the last year has been very scary for me. There have been surgeries and diagnoses that have frightened me, yet I have learned how to contend with medical situations which are out of my control - local anesthesia and information. I have made the choice to end my marriage, despite the anxiety I have about raising three happy, well adjusted boys in two households.  Ultimately, though, I  know that the condition "happy" has to begin with me. I committed to buying the marital home even though the financial responsibilities scare the crap out of me. Optimism, a hardcore work ethic and good credit will hopefully help me to manage this responsibility. 

These are big things - health and family and finances... I've contended with these situations because I had to, options were limited and I needed to take action with the belief that tomorrow would bring better things.  The  certainty of not doing something must be considered as potentially deathly as taking a risk, right?

I've just returned from a wonderful vacation where I consciously did two things that frightened me. The first, pictured above, was a leap jump off a bridge.  Prior to my trip to the beach, I had attended a party at a friend's lake house fully intending to jump into the lake from his deck, upper level, of course.  The day of the party I absolutely bailed on that idea due to fear.  Even the lower deck was too high for my comfort  and I ultimately ended up sliding into the water rather than leaping.  Fail.  This bridge was my chance for redemption and I embraced it.   The shriek  I emitted as I pushed off the bridge was my body's shout out to the universe - my "Hello, I'm here!"  

The second scary thing I did was a bit more foolhardy, I rode my son's bicycle in the pitch dark, feeling like a 14 y/o.  It was so dark I couldn't see my hand in front of my face, a sensation I enjoy when I'm on my feet in my home, but not when I'm in an unfamiliar place, riding a bike I'd never ridden before.  (With a helmet, of course.) I was really scared!  Tree branches were a genuine concern, and there were other unexpected obstacles, too, like misplaced telephone poles between the curb and the sidewalk that were a real peril.  And the word that kept running through my head was "reckless." But, was it?  Really?  I mean, I rode slowly, using caution.  I was mostly sober.  Yet I kept returning to the question "Why am I inviting fear unnecessarily into my life?"  

Maybe the better question is, "Why aren't I?"

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sunsets

Lieutenant's Island, Wellfleet

Lieutenant's Island, Wellfleet
 
Lieutenant's Island, Wellfleet - G and me

Vineyard Haven, Martha's Vineyard

My boys and me

Vineyard Haven, Martha's Vineyard

Vineyard Haven, Martha's Vineyard

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Smells like Martha's Vineyard




Wet dog
Fudge
Skunk
Wild roses
Salt
Tar
Pine needles
Diesel fuel
Sunscreen
Cut grass

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sand in the vaseline - whatever that means


And in the sheets.  And on the floor.  And in my car.  After a week's vacation at the beach, I'm unsure if the pervasive sand is bothering me more, or less. Trying to sleep with random grains of sand in my bed is only slightly less difficult than preventing 4 boys from getting sand in my bed to begin with.  Pshaw, Princess and the Pea.  Sand is way more annoying than any benign green vegetable.  My wagon is filthy.  I have become so disturbed by the external dirt on my car that the interior's imitation of an explosion in a sand-filled minute timer factory doesn't phase me any more.  And speaking of time...

These two weeks at the beach are something I look forward to every year. Some folks define summer by track season in Saratoga or Jazz Fest, but, for me, it is the two weeks spent in Massachusetts in late July, that mean summer. I sometimes reflect on how blessed my family is to enjoy the travel opportunities that we do.  There is something intensely satisfying to me when I hear my children make reference to a place we have visited.  Just today Liam reminded Quinn that the last carousel ride he took was in Florence.  How cool is that?  I recall a total of two vacations from when I was a child, both camping trips taken with family friends, certainly not weeks spent seaside or going anywhere a passport is required. 

I can remember the precise moment when I decided that my eventual family would travel.  I was a Mother's helper in the early 80's for a family in my hometown.  During a particular summer, we spent a long weekend in the Hamptons at the home of a business associate of the husband's and I was incredibly impressed by the lifestyle the homeowners enjoyed.  The house was beautiful, lots of glass, a saltwater swimming pool, grass made green through the painstaking application of pesticides and attention.  In the living room area there was a series of shelves that were filled with photo albums, each meticulously labeled: "France, 1979," "London, 1980," " "Newport, 1981." Wow.  More than the house or the pool, I wanted THAT.

So, the boys go places, see new things, revisit familiar spots away from home and retain memories and experiences which will forever change them.  And if one of the related expenses is the need for good car washing and a few night's of less than ideal sleep due to grains of sand in my bed, so be it.  If I can consider each of those individual particles of sand a potential memory, being inundated by sand doesn't seem so bad at all.  

Vacation “cooking”

Vacation “cooking”

Today's epiphany while running

When I run I always learn something. Sometimes it is about the terrain or the location where I am running. Often, running is an exercise in gaining mental clarity while simultaneously eliminating stress. Frequently I discover something new about the capabilities and/or limits of my physical body. Knowledge gained by exertion, exploration and endurance. Good stuff.

Many of my favorite vacation moments in the past 20 years or so, involve running. This past week on the Cape, I have literally run the full gamut. Gentle runs on sandy roads, excruciating uphill runs, exceedingly short sprints to catch high tide and leap from a bridge. As I ran today, I admired the view with sincerity, counted my blessings with gratitude, and listened to the internal symphony of my body as the aches and minor pains came together musically. A more pessimistic person, might describe it as a cacophony, but, you know me, optimistic to the end -and that's despite my iPod's battery quitting .5 mile into my run.


Already this year, I've run gazing out on both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. I've run in the desert and the-feels-like-desert of Albany in a spectacularly hot and beautiful July. I've run in mountains and on an island. I've experienced locations both new and old to me in a completely different manner because my feet have been touching the ground rather than the gas and brake pedals. Running is an amazing way to explore and become acquainted with one's surroundings. There's an incredible amount of freedom in running - it's your own pace, your own route, your own adventure. How can you fail to notice your surroundings when you're literally making physical, rhythmic contact over a distance of miles?

Running, or walking, is often the least expensive, most effective means of expanding one's knowledge of both the internal and the external. That's an exercise I hope to never grow tired of.