Thursday, November 22
Day of Thanks, Part Deux
Here's a secret. We only moved to the US so that we could have two Thanksgivings. (The PhD is a good cover though, don't you think?) Today was the Yankee version of the fall holiday we know and love in Canada, only over a month late and with most of the leaves already gone. It's a huge deal down here. People at stores will wish you "happy holidays!" as if it's Christmas, and they even have huge boxing-day-esque sales on tomorrow. It's quite crazy, really.

Since many of our friends were gone home (you guessed it, "for the holidays"), and we had celebrated with them the previous weekend, Mark and I were left to our own devices. These devices turned out to be pretty scrumptious, if we do say so ourselves. And keeping with the recurring theme of this blog, food was a central part of our day. So we welcome you to a virtual tour of our "let's stay inside all day and cook tasty things from 9 am until 11." Or our very first attempt, both as singles and as a couple, at making a bona-fide Thanksgiving Dinner, complete with cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie:

Drinking an eggnog latte before the prep starts

Mark doin the funky turkey (with the turkey)

Moi, gloating (it worked it worked it worked!)

We tried a "grown-up" cranberry sauce
with rosemary, port, and balsamic vinegar. It was extraordinary!

Mark carving the bird

The final spread

Rejoicing in the successful pumpkin pie (under the foil). A surprise substitution yielded a new "secret ingredient" I will use forevermore.
posted by The Hippie Triathlete at 10:53 PM Permalink
Wednesday, November 14
a very big apple
New York City with the Barbers...Mark and I at L'Orange Bleue...the first good restaurant we ate at, thanks to Carla's recommendation!
Me on the horse-drawn carriage
Me by the Imagine memorial in Strawberry Fields, Central Park.
View from the Brooklyn Bridge

Back in Syracuse at Awful Al's, but it could've been TriBeCa!
posted by The Hippie Triathlete at 11:46 AM Permalink
Sunday, August 26
Wine tasting in the Finger Lakes

Mark and I joined a wine appreciation group! Our first outing was a tour around one of the Finger Lakes, an absolutely gorgeous, pastoral area of NY State. We visited 6 wineries, tasting at each until the wine / heat combination made us very very sleepy.

Our companions were a diverse group of Syracuse-area oenophiles; a fun retired couple, an SU employee, a local winemaker, and a young, active couple. This last couple we soon discovered we'd already met. In the middle of the tour, the woman says to me suddenly, "are you a runner?" I reply in the affirmative. "We've seen you out running, back in the spring I commented on your tattoo as you passed us!" Sure enough, we remembered them. She had seen my tattoo and put the two together.

Besides enjoying wine, we also got treated to some amazing food. Impala pate from South Africa, rosemary walnuts, a great assortment of cheeses and crakers, and prosciutto-wrapped melon. Not to mention the awesome server at the first winery who ran off to get us some dark chocolate to try with our port!

Upon returning to Syracuse, we joined the philosophy gang for a free BBQ at the Grad Student bar, and then headed downtown to Clarke's pub. It's been a very social few days, so today we're recovering. . . if you call a sub-10min/mile 6.4 mile run a recovery! (That one's for you, Dad!)

Needless to say, there won't be any wine involved in our festivities tonight. (Unless we go to the Eucharist service at St. Paul's.) Over and out!

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posted by The Hippie Triathlete at 1:39 PM Permalink
Friday, August 24
Salt City redux
We often feel like we're hard to keep track of. Winnipeg, Syracuse, India, Winnipeg, Syracuse. Often we feel like its hard to keep track of ourselves! It's like when you were young (or maybe this still happens to some of you) and at a sleepover at a friend's house. You'd wake up in the morning and there would be a period of disorientation. There would be a pocket of time where you were truly nowhere, completely immersed in the moment and unaware of your surroundings. I think I'm getting the hang of it, but sometimes I have to remind myself where I am with the good old mental atlas. Many people asked us over the summer, "So, after Syracuse then what?" Sometimes I'd like to know too, but more often, I'm happy to offer a simple shrug and a sparkle in the eye.

This fall's inhumanely long drive was shouldered almost entirely by Mark, while I (Jen) nodded off into various unpredictable bouts of boredom-induced napping. The few times I did drive were short and sweet, but somehow long enough for me to get to experience getting side-swiped by a car on the freeway, knocking off our driver's side mirror. (We're ok, but it's not a fun experience.)

This time around, we broke up our trip a little. We had ambitious plans for a day of trail riding in Wisconsin, but were thoroughly rained every state from Wisconsin to New York, actually. As disappointed as we were, it enabled us to get to Goshen a little earlier, and into the cookie-bearing arms of Anna-Ruth. She was a warm host, and we're pretty sure we'll be calling her for a second date. ; )

It's been a nice, easy transition back to Salt City: We scored a replacement espresso machine from Williams and Sonoma (Reason #2 to like Syracuse)*, and are now nose-high in good crema once again. We also stocked up on groceries at Wegmans (Reason #3), with a few liquid contributions from Liquor City (Reason #4). We had a great Mexican lunch today with Paul and Melissa (Reason #5), at the Mission Restaurant (Reason #6). Even the city streets welcomed us back, throwing us into our running schedule with 4.5 miles of sweaty, calf-busting hills (Reason #7).

To Winnipeg we bid a temporary and bittersweet farewell. And to Syracuse, (possibly the most humid, rainy city I've ever lived in but yet with it's own charms) we say a warm hello.

*for Reason #1, visit Jen here.

posted by The Hippie Triathlete at 12:27 AM Permalink
Wednesday, July 11
Ode to the Bean
We celebrated our 6 month anniversary on June 29th, and, true to form, Mark presented me with a very thoughtful gift: a hot-air popcorn popper! This little popper however was destined for bigger and better things than corn; for we would soon christen it with the shiny green beans of the coffee plant.

That is, if we could find them. In a fun-filled, adventure-packed day, Mark and I set out to find all the tools we needed to turn our ho-hum popper into a home coffee-roaster extraordinaire (courtesy of instructions on coffeegeek) Our travels took us to kitchen supply stores from Osborne to Ferry to Polo Park, searching in vain for a small, cheap candy thermometer that went higher than 450. The next day (oh yes, the search was epic), we found one at Russel Kitchen Supply on Ellice for 6$. A few hours later and with only one drill bit injured in the process, we had our roaster ready to go!

Finding green coffee beans to roast also proved difficult. So far, we've found only two places in Winnipeg that carry them: Black Pearl Coffee on Dufferin (but you'll have to get through the owner first, he's protective of his beans!), and the Cannery on Osborne. At not much cheaper than the final roasted beans, I think we'll try to find a better deal on the internet.

Lastly, we needed a large colander to quickly cool the hot, roasted beans. This we ended up scoring for 10 bucks at Superstore.

It took us one batch to discover that we LOVE roasting coffee. (Jen: "This is SO FUN! I LOVE this!" Mark: all smiles, laughing at my enthusiasm.) You become part of the whole process: watching the beans begin to heat up and turn tan, smelling the sweetness of barley and "burning organics," listening for first and second "crack," and timing out the different stages and temperatures. So, the moral of the story is, be nice to us and you might be eligible for a pound of the freshest roasted coffee around! (Even fresher than's true.)

posted by The Hippie Triathlete at 1:26 PM Permalink
Thursday, May 10
Heading for the Hills
"Sir, which country you from? ... Ma'am ..."
"No, Winnipeg."
"Ahhh, very very nice place."
"Yup, (wave and smile) bye!"

-A typical exchange between us and various people in the marketplaces, usually occuring between 10 and 15 times a day. Paul, a British guy we met last night while dining on the Mehran Fort's noble terrace, told us that he's started making countries up to stave off the boredom. Sounds like a good idea.

We both seem to be back in functioning order, feeling at least 95% ourselves again. The Norfloxacin 400's we picked up for a dollar (maybe MB health will cover the bill) seem to be doing their job, or at least our stomachs are getting used to all things Indian.

And it's hot, friends, very very hot. As we type in a strangely humid-cold basement of an Internet spot, the temperature is soaring towards 43 degrees celsius. It is amazing what the human body can take.

A few hours left here in Jodhpur until we board a night train for Delhi, and then another for Shimla, a northern city promising respite for our sweat-soaked brows. Rajasthan has charmed us with its desolate beauty, beguiled us with its frantic momentum, and endeared us to its colourful people. That said, the nickname that's been applied to Westerners who come here in the summer months seems apt; we are feeling more and more like "mad dogs."

Namaste, we'll write you all from the footstools of the Himalayas.

Jen and Mark
posted by The Hippie Triathlete at 6:10 AM Permalink
Sunday, May 6
We're safe and sound! far! It's Sunday in India, and our first official day on our own. Jonathan greeted us at the Delhi airport, and was our faithful host/guide all day yesterday. This morning we embarked just the two of us (on a local bus filled to the brim with people) and arrived in Jaipur today at around noon. It's about 38 degrees celsius right now, but we survived yesterday's 40 so we should be alright. Off we go now to find some cold drinks and fresh mangoes...which, incidentally are in season right now.

Last night we had the priviledge of being able to watch a Hindi marriage ceremony. We were allowed into the huge buffet (it took place in our hotel), and served by one of the staff. This morning we woke up to discover that the party was STILL not over! (Thanks for the earplugs, mom) As we sipped our "cold coffees" (Nescafe, sugar and milk), we watched the tearful bride say goodbye to her families.

More to come!

(by Jen)
posted by Mark at 5:00 AM Permalink
Tuesday, May 1
half a world away
While talking to a well-traveled friend today, she said "travelers say that you haven't really traveled until you've been to India or China." Well, even though I don't agree with the statement, I do know what the intention behind it is: Get ready for adventure.

A few other people have weighed-in on our upcoming trip (we leave on the 3rd! this Thursday!). While my dad was here over the weekend he read us from Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. All I remember is "each breath was like a tiny victory." Another friend-of-a-friend: "Why are a white girl and her white husband going to India in MAY?"

Because we got married and when people get married they go somewhere hot, and so we picked the hottest place on the planet. 42-45 degrees Celsius, or for all you Yanks, 107-113 Fahrenheit. Well actually, I have this wee obsession with mountains, and so Mark is taking me to see one of the greatest mountain ranges on earth. The food, adventure, and eye-openers will top it off, to make it soooooooo much better than your standard tropical vacation. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

So check in for updates. We'll try to get to a computer whenever we can, but no promises. Off we go!

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posted by The Hippie Triathlete at 7:51 AM Permalink
Monday, April 16
Never Snow?
Yes, that headline does read: "Storm-Tossed Coast"

As some of you have heard, the north-east got a big snow storm last night. Here in Syracuse it has continued into today. As I write it is still snowing.

Here are some pictures of what we woke up to today. First, the street in front of our house.
This is the "snow-tunnel" sidewalk by our place.
And a pretty tree across the street.
Finally, there's Jen at our front window. She decided to stay in where it was dry and warm while I ventured out into the snow.

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posted by Mark at 11:49 AM Permalink
Monday, March 26
Our first 10k
The ten kilometre race, affectionately known to runners everywhere (even in the archaic, imperial-measuring USA) as the "ten-K." This race is a milestone for any runner. Usually, it's the first significant race an amateur runner will enter. On Sunday, Mark and I will attempt the 26th Annual Skunk Cabbage Classic, in Ithaca, NY. A 6.2-mile jaunt around the stately Cornell-University town shouldn't be too much of a problem. We'll just have to wait and see.

So please, on Sunday at 10:30 Eastern Daylight Time, send up some runnerly vibes on our behalf, as well as on behalf of our new team, the Syracuse University Philosophy Department Running Club (creatively named by Mr. Mark Barber himself).

If we meet our time goals, Mark might even reward himself with an espresso by Zahar (our favourite Ithaca barrista), while Jen may choose to indulge herself in a Moosewood curry extraordinaire. Check in for results!

Brought to you in part by the PDRC: Run Fun, Run Well, Run Thoughtfully


posted by The Hippie Triathlete at 8:45 PM Permalink