Welcome, 2012!

I don’t think I could welcome a New Year more than this year. Has it been a year since I wrote about my thoughts on New Year “resolutions” already? And I must admit 2012 has started off quite well in my book. I find a new year is similar to a new beginning– another year has passed, many lessons learnt, and I am–you– are here. Yes, 2011 did not end with the happiest of endings (a car accident puts the miracle of being alive into perspective), but what better way to start a new year, thankful for everything that has occurred?

I’ve welcomed amazing warm weather, which has allowed me to spend more time outside doing the things I love and not cooped up on the trainer. Not that cold weather has stopped me in the past year from doing anything outside, but for some reason with this mild weather we have had recently in the Northeast, I’ve become more sensitive to the cold; perhaps because I’m simply not used to biking or running in sub-freezing weather yet. It’s only a matter of time before I’m dressed like an insane person. And, I learned that watching The League while riding the trainer doesn’t work so well. Trying to stay focused on target heart rate/interval time and cracking up with tears in my eyes from laughing so hard/the inability to breathe because of laughter are two things which I cannot do at the same time.

Cheesy smile, matching my bike mountain bike ride at 909. Yes, I'm working on the shoes.

For those of you in the area, there are specific places in the Hudson Valley which have great, well maintained mountain bike paths. Click here for a great website which hosts numerous different mountain biking paths in different counties in the area.

Frozen fingers, toes, and frozen smile. If only I wore my white helmet, I'd be completely color coordinated with my bike, again.

I’ve welcomed the ability to experiment with my knife in the kitchen–and, knock on wood, I have not sliced off any tips of my phalanges. If you are looking for a simple, easy, healthy dinner idea, I cooked Eggplant and Chickpea Curry the other night, which can be spiced up for those who can tolerate spicier foods, and was a hit, even for the non-vegetarian I prepared it for. I cannot wait until I can test out other recipes…Perhaps another dinner party might be in my future.

It looks like a one-pot mess, but smells incredible. Yay for spices!

The only thing in the recipe which takes time is the eggplant, which needs to be baked before being added to the chickpeas and red pepper/tomato/onion mixture.

With fresh parsley garnish served over couscous

I’ve welcomed being introduced to new places, including the  Stockade in uptown Kingston, which is a must-visit small bar in (yes, you guessed correctly) Kingston, New York. What was at one time a sewing location is now a quaint bar with old sewing machines as tables and serves clever beverages from different eras, and almost perfectly symmetrical ice cubes. If you have never been there before, I would advise asking the waitress what the drinks are when she does ask if you have questions about the menu. I did not really have a clue as to what I was ordering, only upon leaving was it when I realized that the reason my choice was so incredibly strong and why I could not finish it was because it was composed of five different alcohols.

Holy strong drink, the Grand Carre

I’ve welcomed being able to spend time with friends and those whom I care about– I am determined to spend more time with others this year…And I’ve welcomed living a non- nocturnal life. It really is incredible how different running at two in the afternoon feels than running at two in the morning. Ohh sun, how I’ve missed you.

Sunset

I’ve welcomed the ability to start afresh.

I wish you a belated very happy, healthy, and fantastic New Year!

And, once again, I leave you with a couple music videos– the first being the theme song to my first mtn bike ride of the year (or rather, it was on the radio and I knew exactly who was singing it). The second, from a movie which put even more crazy cycling ideas into my head. Ohh man, it’s dangerous to introduce me to anything related to running or biking…Or climbing…Or anything dealing with the outdoors that pushes you mentally and physically and emotionally, actually.

Every end is a new beginning. 

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