06 March 2011

Exhaling, The Friday Top Five, And Where Have I Been?!

This picture pretty much defines my life. These are my absolutely wonderful five children—all of which with personalities so different that one would think there is no possible way they could all be related. We were on our way to go sledding a couple of weeks ago when I thought I should take a picture of the Fab Five. My daughter, Janina, is the quiet one in the purple. My son Julian, is the one in back who resembles Kenny from the television series South Park. 

So, I know what you might be thinking. Where has this guy been? I love writing my blog. Even when I am really busy, I still manage to write a post at least once a week. The last  month was probably the busiest month that I can remember in my life. Even while preparing my dissertation defense and getting ready to defend, I was still not as stressed as I was the past week. 

I started a position at a new institution after being Composer In Residence at another institution for ten years. It has been a welcome change. I have amazing colleagues, wonderful students, and a very collaborative academic environment. I am a strong believer of collaboration within academia. What do I mean by that? For instance, one of my colleagues has spoken to me about the possibility of co-teaching a course on music and poetry—looking at the way composers treat text in regard to compositional devices: form, rhythm, meter, articulations, harmony, dynamics, phrasing. I work at a place where interdisciplinary projects are the norm—and people get really creative. For instance, I had a conversation with a colleague in mathematics about taking a course on the math of Darmstadt era composers. You see, some composers write with very specific processes. How cool is my job? I am teaching an independent study to a student this semester who is learning improvisation with me. Once a week he puts it into practice by walking over to the dance department with his guitar and accompanying modern classes. 

Anyway, the last two weeks I had been preparing a class to teach and an prepping my evening talk as part of the interview process. My father use to say to us that it was okay to fail as long as we gave it everything we had. His viewpoint was that we learn from those experiences. We put our best foot forward, prepare the hell out of something, and hope that we have our best performance on that day. In a lot of ways, it is kind of like triathlon. 

I want to thank all my friends, colleagues, and my Trakkers teammates who sent out a lot of love and support the last week wishing my luck. Oh, and of course I would be remiss if I did not mention my  super-awesome coach who sent me an email reminding me that I have been preparing for the position my whole life. 

So, that is where I have been. In a cave. Well, more like the library, but you get the idea. 

The Friday Top Five

1) Pasta: Yeah, I think it should come as NO surprise that pasta is the favorite food of a guy who actually wrote a post titled "Confessions of a Complex Carboholic". It is probably only within this list that I could actually create a subcategory of my favorite pastas as well. How Italian am I?! First on the list for me would be pasta penne vodka. Seriously, how can you go wrong with a sauce made from proscuitto, cream, and vodka?  Next would be pasta with pesto (pronounced "pay-sto). We grow our own basil in our garden during the summer. My wife collects a kitchen table's worth by the end of the summer and breaks out the parmesan cheese and oil to make fresh pesto. She jars it, and I consume it in ridiculous amounts on my pasta until it has disappeared and I have to wait another summer to get my fix. I don't think a week went by last summer that I did not make pasta salad—a dish consisting of fresh cavatelli, olive oil, tomato's, basil, garlic, mozzarella cheese. After you pour the warm cavatelli in a bowl bringing out the flavor of the garlic and add the other ingredients, I would always drizzle on a little balsamic vinegar to finish. As I am writing this, I am daydreaming about making lunch today. 

2) Pizza: Seriously, I think I could eat pizza everyday of the week if I could eliminate my conscience. I don't like the "healthy" variety of this culinary masterpiece. I prefer thin crust pepperoni pizza, especially the kind made wood fired pizzerias, where the crust gets slightly toasty on the sides. A lot of love in that pizza!

3) Bruschetta: bruschetta \brü-ˈske-tə, -ˈske-\. My memories of bruschetta go back to when I was a small child. My father would cut up pieces of Italian bread from a loaf and put them on a tray in the fireplace to toast. When they got a nice golden brown, he would take a garlic clove and rub it on the bread, followed by a little olive oil and salt. That's it. No tomato's. No cheese, parsley, or citrus like you find at some of these fancy Italian restaurants that claim to be authentic. Nope. Just real good peasant food. He taught me how to make it, and I have taught my children. I don't know why something so simple is so delicious, but it just works. My father would tell me what a wonderful meal it was to have some olives, a couple pieces of cheese, bruschetta, and a glass of wine. Clearly, he was a visionary!

4) Chicken and black bean burrito: I am convinced I am one millionth Mexican, because my hunger for a decent burrito has steadily grown since I first ate one in Ithaca, New York while attending graduate school. It took me nearly 25 years years to eat one, yes. I did eat some authentic mexican food while attending school in Ohio, but I never ordered burritos for some reason. I eat about one a week now. I like them spicy. 

5) Coconut Ice Cream: Bizarre, right? Not every place has coconut ice cream, and it has been my experience that either people love it, or hate it. If it is on an ice cream parlor (do people even call it an "ice cream parlor" anymore?), I have to get it. 

Training: Needless to say, the training was pretty much non-existant this week. I had a recovery week, so my hours were pretty low anyway—I only had bout five hours of training to do. I did a straight 1500 yard swim on Monday in 27:25 (1:50 pace—hey, I'm not fast... yet!), and I ran yesterday for the first time all week. I did 4x1 mile repeats after a ten minute warm up. My splits were:  8:00. 7:53, 7:48, and 7:42. I am a good minute off my pace from the end of the season last year, but I am sure I will get it back down again..... right?!  

Oh!  I ran in my NEW Avia Quest Lite's for the first time and I absolutely DIG them. I ran my mile repeats in them. I thought I was going to need a little time breaking them in and perhaps they were not going to be comfortable right away out of the box. I was wrong. If a shoe feels that good out of the box on your first run, I can not wait to feel what it is going to be like after I put some miles in these puppies! 

Okay, I am officially ready to post my bike porn in my next post. A lot of my teammates ordered their first Kestrels this season. All I can say is that you will not be disappointed. I spoke to a bunch of my friends about how much more comfortable I have been on this bike already. You know what that mean, right? More comfortable = faster!  

Still do not have a name for my new ride. I will need one for the beginning of the season. Perhaps I should have a "Name My New Baby Contest?" 

Coach Mary has me doing 10 hours this week. I am looking forward to the therapy after a pretty stressful week last week. 

More soon. Train Smart!


KC (my 140 point 6 mile journey) said...

Burritos!!!! Food of the Aztec Gods. Just started eating them on a regular basis ...good stuff! The hub's got me hooked on them.
Nice running shoes. Always a good sign if you don't have to break them in.
Love the picture of all the kids in the car. The Kenny reference cracked me up.
K-Co (has its roots from the name J-Lo)

Kelly said...

The picture of the kids says it all. Glad this week is behind you.

Anonymous said...

That picture of the kids is AWESOME! Glad you are finding time for fun things like sledding in the busy work time!!


I packed up my kids to head off sledding a couple weeks ago too. After 8 hours of driving, I gave up and turned around.

Hey, anybody is 6% BF (you right?, I don't forget these things since I am way in the double digits), I hope you are still treating your body as your temple. Of course that would mean meat lovers pizza.

Barbie said...

Your children are adorable. Amazing how we can raise them all the same and they are just totally individual.

Caratunk Girl said...

I love all the same foods as you. I am not Italian, but I eat like one...Seriously. Vodka pasta is my fav. And Pizza. AND Coconut ice cream. In the summer Giffords has Almond Joy ice cream and I ride my bike 30 miles to it just to get 2 scoops. I am stuck on those 3 I can't remember what else you wrote about.

I completely love the picture of the kids. Hilarious.

Anonymous said...

I was really just thinking this morning "where have you been"?? I hope the new gig brings you MUCH success and happiness!!
and veggie pizza for me-great night before, and after long training racing :)

Molly said...

I'm going to number these, to keep it simple stupid:

1. I can't believe you were about a few hundred yards from my house last week. seriously.

2. you have a lot of great things going on at work, kudos to you for that!

3. and yes, Boilermaker Year Five is coming up in July. While training for triathlon #1 and Marathon #2.

4. If I could eat pizza every day I'd be a happy girl, only if I could have a burrito for breakfast.

5. : )

Joel said...

Awesome post! I love the picture of your family. The bruschetta looks really good. Never would have thought of trying it without tomatoes, etc. I'll have to give it a try.

Christi said...

I am really hungry now that I read your post!

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

Wonderful pic of the kiddos Mark! finally a top 5 we can agree on!!

Talk to you soon dude!

Colleen said...

I love the picture of the kids! :)

I could literally live off of pasta every meal of every day and be fine. Throw some pizza and a burrito in there and I'm golden! :) I'm with you on the top 5 for sure!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

I hate pasta, I know, I might be the only endurance athlete who does, I love rice though, that my replacement

I love a good solid burrito, one thing I miss most about Arizona, the good mexican food, Ohio has NONE, ZERO good mexican places

Pizza is part of the food pyramid, isnt it? I swear it is, and I am like you, dont waste pizza by making if healthy, my perfernce, if it moo'd or oinked at one point of its life, its belongs on my pizza

Kovas said...

Combine pizza and a burrito and you have the food of legend.