Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Summer running, and a little "kung pow!"

My cousins and me over the 4th of July weekend



I had a really nice holiday weekend; the weather cooperated, I got to do a race, and it was all capped off with dinner at my relatives on Sunday.

Summer is definitely upon us, as most of our days are in the 80’s (even low 90’s last Sunday). The humidity is definitely setting in as well, making running a bit more challenging. Yesterday temperatures were only in the low 80’s, but the dew point in my neighborhood was approaching 70, making the air feel thick and heavy.

Last Saturday, I broke my rule about not running the day after a race. It was too beautiful, and I felt great, so I put in a 12 1/2 mile run. I was glad that I did, as this turned out to be a cooler morning than Sunday was.

The red-winged blackbirds have been especially feisty. On my Saturday run, I was attacked by two different birds. One of them actually chased and dive-bombed me for almost the length of a football field! But not all birds were angry at me. I did see many others, such as the great blue heron, several gray catbirds, and even a gorgeous great crested flycatcher.

Adding to the wildlife, I saw 13 different cottontail rabbits along the route, including two of the cutest baby bunnies, one that was small enough that he would fit in my hand (I stopped and chatted with him, just to make sure he kept off the trail!). The bunnies-per-mile ratio increased from the previous weekend’s run to 1.04 BPM. And, on that run, I only encountered 7 people during the entire time, so the bunnies outnumbered the humans, which is always a good thing!

Sunday, I visited my aunt, uncle, and cousins down in the south metro. Both my cousins Pablo and Suzanne were in town (Suzanne with her family as well), so it was a family reunion of sorts.

Pablo made us his famous kung pao chicken (or as we call it, “kung pow,” with an extra emphasis on the “pow!”). He has been making this for decades now, and it has become the stuff of legends. I think nearly everywhere he goes, friends request that he prepare this dish! The “kung pow” is wonderfully spicy, sweet, salty, and sour; all of those components that make for outstanding Asian cooking.

Pablo’s famous “kung pow!” chicken



Absolutely exceptional! What a treat to be able to dine on such excellent food while catching up with family. I am very fortunate to have such wonderful relatives on both sides of my family. Great people, all of them!

Until next time,

Jean
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