Primanti's and the Cathedral of Learning

Today I was scheduled to do the Cathedral of Learning stair climb again, two repetitions like last time. Since I had stayed later at work than expected, I was hungry already, so I decided I would go do the two reps and then eat a lot of food.

John was still around at work too and he was interested in doing two reps for the first time (years ago we’d periodically done one), so we went. We had a plan.

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Cooking the whole cauliflower including the leaves again

We often get cauliflower with leaves intact. So I end up doing something with both the florets and the leaves, cooking them separately. Sauteed cauliflower florets Sauteed cauliflower florets Sauteed with olive oil, garlic, and random other bits. Cauliflower leaf soup Cauliflower leaf soup Winter means soup. Toss in a base of chopped up onion, carrot, celery, and spices, and make cauliflower leaf soup! Read On →

I had no choice but to barefoot climb the Cathedral of Learning

Cathedral of Learning in snow

One week ago I reported on starting an exercise regimen including stair climbing 36 floors of the Cathedral of Learning. Since then, I’ve gone back three times to climb the Cathedral of Learning again. Part of the reason is that Bill was inspired by the report and climbed it himself for the first time, and we decided we should do the Fight for Air Climb this year. Therefore, he’s been going back for more climbing and so have I.

I don’t expect to be regularly doing as much climbing as I happen to have been doing this past week. The other reason I did it was because it got colder and icier and I’m ramping up more slowly with my running, having run only twice in the past week while getting used to the impact again.

Yesterday, while chatting with Bill at the Pittsburgh Ruby users group, he mentioned he was planning today to do two repetitions of the climb for the first time. So I decided to also do two reps for the first time as well, and committed to it.

Things took an interesting turn during my Cathedral of Learning workout today.

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A winter red cabbage slaw for the New Year

Happy New Year!

Red cabbage slaw

For a party, I used what was at hand at home to make something to share. I decided on a red cabbage slaw, after doing a Google search for ingredients and seeing some recipes. I didn’t follow any one recipe, but merged a couple of ideas. Since people seemed to eat up the cabbage slaw, and several complimented me on it and asked for the recipe, here it is:

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Why I went Frick Park trail running in snowfall for the first time in a decade

Asics Gel Flash DS in the snow

Today, New Year’s Eve, I went for my last run of 2012.

It was also my first run (as far as I can remember) in about two months, because of the total destruction of my exercise routine in the last months of the year.

This was also my first real winter run in probably three years, since at some point I had gotten soft and stopped running in winter, despite a failed attempt just a year ago.

Finally, this was also my first trail run in snow in probably a decade. At some point, I had decided that it was too unsafe or uncomfortable to run in the trails in winter when there was snow, mainly because of ice concerns, and when I was running in winter at all, I would choose the roads.

So why the sudden change?

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When I don't have time to sit and breathe, something is wrong with my life

Our two zafus

It’s been a long time since I’ve mentioned meditation here. In fact, it’s been ten months! This despite my knowledge of how beneficial it is.

There’s a reason: I completely lost my meditation practice at some point this year. I don’t even remember when I lost it. It may have had something to do with the fact that the iPad app we had been using as a meditation timer suddenly stopped making sound and we didn’t know why.

Yeah, what a sad excuse. But this is exactly how, when one’s practice is already in trouble, any trivial glitch (so easily solved one way or another) is an excuse to stop.

Abby and I have periodically “tried” to get back on, but as Yoda wisely said,

Try not! Do, or do not. There is no try.

So now what?

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Meditations on climbing the 36 floors of the Pitt Cathedral of Learning

Cathedral of Learning

Tonight I climbed the steps of the 36 accessible floors of the University of Pittsburgh Cathedral of Learning for the first time in probably a couple of years. As I mentioned after my last big stair climb, this year’s Fineview Stepathon, I used to do some training here, when preparing for the tortuous annual 35-mile Rachel Carson Trail Challenge held in June, which I did in 2005, 2006, and 2007.

Wikipedia photo

I thought a lot about how my physical fitness took a sharp turn downward in the past five years, and how for the coming new year of 2013 I plan to get back into the shape I was in five years ago, and why that is important.

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I changed how I live after reading Joshua Foer's "Moonwalking with Einstein"


Recently I heard about the journalist Joshua Foer who embarked on a remarkable journey in which he ended up covering a story about memory and then actually training his own and in the process becoming the United States Memory champion. I watched his hilarious and inspiring TED talk and ended up reading his book “Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything”.

After reading this book, I made a firm decision to immediately change my life.

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Playing tango on melodica and singing Christmas carols

Abby and I went to a Christmas party at Gina’s, and of course there had to be a lot of music-making. Probably ten of us at some point or another were playing music. There was singing, flutes, accordions, piano, mandolin, etc., on all kinds of music, for hours and hours, even in separate rooms simultaneously. I did a lot of sitting and listening to others and also some participation of my own. Read On →

Special treat: Dutch jazz trumpeter Eric Vloeimans performed in Pittsburgh!

Eric Vloeimans

A while ago, I heard through a fantastic Pittsburgh City paper article and the Pittsburgh Jazz Fan meetup about Dutch jazz trumpeter Eric Vloeimans coming to Pittsburgh to perform as part of an “international progressive jazz trio” including himself, German Florian Weber on piano, and Syrian Kinan Azmeh on clarinet.

I had never heard of these musicians before, but the article intrigued me enough to do some research, and Abby and I ended up attending his concert.

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