Monday, September 28, 2015

Jill: Music Monday, Dave Matthews and Wine

Grocery shopping is usually a semi-stressful event involving the heavy bribery of both my children and often leaves me needing some wine when I return home.  However, last week I was able to sneak in an evening trip to the store alone while the husband handled bedtime. I never thought I would look forward to grocery shopping, but these unexpected moments of solace and quiet are really quite exciting nowadays.  One of the benefits is being alone in my car which allows me to put this song on full blast:

(an amazing running song)

Another benefit is that I am able to hear the music and advertisements that are playing in the background at the store.  Normally, I would probably tune those out as well, but as I was standing in an aisle contemplating how long I could possibly stretch out this trip, a few distinct words caught my ear. Specifically, "Dave Matthews" and "wine."  And as I started to really pay attention, I learned something amazing.  Dave Matthews, one of my all time favorites, had partnered with a winery to create his own wine brand. The brand is named after one of my all time favorite Dave songs, The Dreaming Tree, and the store I was currently standing in was now carrying it. I took it as a sign. I was meant to be alone that night so that I could become aware of this wine's existence and purchase a bottle (or four). 

It's so pretty that I haven't had the heart to open it yet. I'm sure that won't last long. Our new dog needed to be acknowledged also. Her name is Taylor, after Taylor Swift, which is fitting for Music Mondays.
Here's where you can find out more about this endeavor: Dreaming Tree Wines

Even though it's not a great song for running, I have to post the song as well because I love it.

And finally because Music Mondays are supposed to be about good running songs, here's a few more of my very favorite Dave Matthews Band songs that are less sad and much more upbeat:

Two Step


Friday, September 25, 2015

Jill: News You Can Use

Another work week is in the books, and my hubs and I have big weekend plans. We are getting all dressed up and heading out to the Blue Door Bash, a fundraiser for our local boys and girls clubs. The best part? Our kids are sleeping over somewhere else for the night. We aren't sure if we are more excited to get dressed up and do adult things together or if we are more excited at the prospect of sleeping in naked.

Either way, here's some really useful news for your weekend reading:

  • I bet these scientists had a great time "testing" the wines. In all seriousness, I love when science is awesome.
  • More science! This time explaining why cheese gets stinky. As an aside, my kids love this parody book of fairy tales:

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Jill: The Worst Race

Anyone who is remotely familiar with this blog knows that we don't particularly enjoy running. After all, it is the first rule of membership to our very exclusive club. One of the reasons we let this blog go dormant for so long is because we actually quit running for awhile. In a short, somewhat cryptic post, Habanero Cheddar mentioned our upcoming first half-marathon. And then there was silence. Lots of silence. For a very long time.  One of the things I didn't mention in my post about what we have been up to was The Worst Race, but one of the reasons we stopped running and blogging for awhile was due to that particular experience.

It started out as another great idea cultivated under the influence of some tasty beverages.  Smoked Gouda was the mastermind of this particular adventure, and she sold it well. It basically went down like this:

Hey! We should take a girls road trip to Nashville and do the half marathon race. It's part of the Rock 'n' Roll marathon series so there will be lots of bands playing on the course which will make it fun instead of horrible. Think of it as just jogging from band to band. I know someone who can hook us up with a place to stay that includes a pool and hot tub. It will be so much fun.

The rest of us agreed pretty quickly, poured another round of drinks and probably looked like this:

Then we trained. We weren't out to break any records or accomplish goals. Remember, we were there for the music, fun, food (shout out to Jack's Bar-B-Que), and the overall experience.  All of us were in good enough shape to finish even if we did a lot of walking.

We had a good time at the expo purchasing alcohol themed headbands and tech shirts with double meanings:

Stephanie's headband of choice

My headband. I love rum.

My shirt. I'm such a prude.

I also purchased a hat since the forecast was calling for rain on race day, but I had yet to realize just how much that rain would affect us.

Race day dawned early as most large marathons do which is hard for those of us who despise mornings in general, but we soldiered on. We got to the start and dutifully put ourselves in one of the last few corrals since, you know, we are slow. By then is was already raining. None of us are such lightweights that we were phased by a little rain, but that rain quickly turned into hard, driving, cold rain.  Kind of like this:

Ok, so we are generally positive people and probably would have been able to laugh it off immediately if things hadn't taken a turn for the worst.  First, the weather got worse.  By mile 8 or 10 the cold wind was picking up and there was thunder.  The rain never really let up the entire time, and did I mention it was a cold rain?  Basically, we felt like we were in this:

It wasn't a complete loss yet because there was music! Right? I mean, it is a Rock 'n' Roll marathon so there still has to be music.  There has to be a rain plan. But there wasn't.  Well, at least it wasn't a very good rain plan.  All of the big/recognizable bands weren't playing at all.  In one or two cases, a portable radio/CD player was sent up under their tent. In most cases, the tents were completely empty. A few smaller acts toughed out the rain with us, but they seemed to have conspired ahead of time to make the experience even worse for us. The first two bands that I passed were playing songs about....water.  Of all things....water.  I was cold, drenched and generally miserable, and theses folks who were dry under their music tents thought that singing Waterfalls or Sea Cruise would be a great idea. We didn't take any pictures, but I'm pretty sure I looked like this:

And that's pretty much how we all felt about running for awhile afterwards.  We all finished and enjoyed the hot tub that night after a yummy dinner, but when it came to picking our next race or just going out for a jog, we all stayed eerily silent for a long time. Other than our Girls on the Run practices, we just didn't run.  It was like the runner's version of PTSD.  I'm sure all serious runners have had experiences like that, but as casual runners, we didn't have the mental toughness to jump back on the horse quickly.

We have done other races since: a zombie 5k, a couple Girls on the Run 5ks, and I braved the half marathon again last year with the Queen Bee.  But as a group, we have had a difficult time getting back together to run regularly, especially with all of the life changes on top of our collective mental block. However, I am quietly on a mission to return us to our former glory.  Wish me luck!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Jill: Music Monday and Margaritas

I saw this go by on my social media feed this weekend and couldn't agree more. I mean, could you just imagine it?

Even though we are mostly known for our love of wine, we definitely have a soft spot for margaritas. Founding member, Smoked Gouda is known for making a mean margarita. Once when we were out celebrating her birthday, we ended up with a super-sized margarita that was almost as big as a whole pitcher. I'm fairly certain I still have a picture of it somewhere. I may have to dig around on my older computer and find it. Follow up post to come....

So in honor of the margarita theme, I present two tunes from the Mayor of Margaritaville himself, Jimmy Buffet.

Margaritaville (a little too slow for my running playlist, but it deserves recognition)

Cheeseburger in Paradise (now this is more my tempo for running and of course even Jimmy Buffet realizes that everything is better with cheese)

Friday, September 18, 2015

Jill: News You can Use

We've had a busy week around here.  I'm still trying to shake a cold and have started Girls on the Run practices (yay!), Stephanie has spent the week preparing to move into a new house, and Smoked Gouda is celebrating a birthday for one of her 28 (approximately) little ones. My weekend looks like two days crammed full of swim lessons, helping a friend move (see above), a local Oktoberfest, not catching up on housework, and probably not napping.  I do, however, have two small blocks of cheese and a bottle of Moscato to help me survive.  Cheers.

  • If you are fan of Ricotta cheese, this Buzzfeed list is for you.

  • This girl is my new running hero. 

  • Here's an interesting debate we can get behind: Is running selfish?  Um, hell yeah.  That's why we started.  It gets us out of our houses, away from our little people that we have spawned and our husbands, and gives us time to remember who we are as people outside of our roles as teachers, moms, and wives.  That's a good thing.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Jill: Music Monday

It's Monday. I'm recovering from a cold and a busy weekend filled with birthday fun for my youngest daughter. Somehow my Girls on the Run coaching gig starts tomorrow, and I'm not even close to 5k running shape. My goal today is not to gorge on candy at work and cheese at home.

I had a song all picked out for today, but then one of my students was jammin' to another song I love to run to. I couldn't decide which one to post, so I am posting both.  Happy Monday!

Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon

Ex's and Oh's by Elle King

Friday, September 11, 2015

Jill: News You Can Use

In addition to resurrecting this blog as a whole, I wanted to add some ongoing/recurring posts (like the soon-to-be-also-resurrected Music Monday posts). So today I present the first installment of News You Can Use, a regular news roundup of what we consider critical pieces of newsworthy information. You're welcome.

  • To be honest, most of us around here, with the exception of Stephanie, don't really pay much attention to "pairing" our wines and cheeses.  We know that wine is delicious and so is cheese. That's good enough for us.  However, for you more enlightened wine & cheese folks out there, here are some Tips for Pairing Wine & Cheese.
  • As teachers, we know first-hand the struggle of drinking on a budget. For you red wine lovers out there, this article on Decent Bottles for $10 or Less should be helpful.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Jill: Jobs and Babies and Houses, Oh my!

I am teacher, and generally speaking, teachers don't do excuses. We hear it all: all the reasons why something wasn't done or turned in or wasn't done well. We nod and listen to the excuse, and then explain why it still isn't acceptable. There is always a way.

I want to make clear that the rest of this post isn't an excuse about why we haven't been blogging regularly.  Instead, it is simply an explanation of what we have been up to in the long space between entries.

Changes by the numbers:

For the 4 original Whine & Cheese members:
  • 3 babies (2 girls and 1 boy) 
  • 1 wedding
  • 3 moves into new houses
  • 4 (yes, all 4 of us) new jobs
  • 671 bottles of wine and 364 pounds of cheese has been consumed (approximately)
Awesome things we missed blogging about during that time:
  • Having new babies
  • Getting married
  • Moving into new houses
  • Changing jobs 
  • Drinking 671 bottles of wine and eating 364 pounds of cheese
  • 2 new members joining our club
  • Running our first (and possibly last) half marathon. (I have actually done 2. Who am I?)
  • 1 new member did her first full marathon (she's crazy but we love her)
  • Coaching 3 seasons of Girls on the Run (us as role models? crazy, right??). I am gearing up for my 4th season right now.
  • Running 1 zombie themed 5k
  • 1 discussion about doing a mini triathlon (we were seriously drunk after the zombie 5k)
So while it seems we have disappeared from the running world, we are still here. We have simply been struggling to find the time to sit and write. Somehow, after 2 years in my new job, I am finding more time for myself again. While that is probably not a true statement for all of us (new babies, I'm looking at you!), I am hoping to get back into the swing of blogging about our running and eating and drinking adventures. There is definitely no shortage of things to write about.