Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Writing prompt Wednesday

Let's see if this writing prompt kick starts your creativity and writing for today.

I'll write the beginning of a sentence and all you have to do is finish it. If the inspiration hits then let it take you and write a paragraph or more. Enjoy and have fun!

Writing prompt: The squeak of a door...


Monday, July 7, 2014

Ultra Around the Lake for our Heroes

In three weeks I will endeavor to run my next ultra, a 24-hr race. GASP! I know, right. But I do this not just for me and my addiction to running (some would say I'm obsessive). I do this for our Heroes, our Veterans who have come home with PTSD.

The run is called the Ultra Around the Lake and takes place on July 25 and 26 in Wakefield, Massachusetts. It starts at 9 PM on Friday and goes until 9 PM Saturday. While I hope many of my friends will come out to run or walk a lap with me or two and just generally be my moral support, I'm asking everyone for a little more.

In my attempt to run a 24 hour ultra, I hope to raise awareness and funds for a fantastic organization called Heroes Project. Heroes Project mission is to give back to our Service men and women by providing them with fitness equipment, gym memberships, personal training, and life coaching. They provide all this and more to help boost the mental and physical fitness of those Veterans who struggle with PTSD.


My part is simple...run, but I'm running for what I believe is a tremendous cause. To aid those individuals who have sacrificed so much for us and our freedom.

Won't you help me help Heroes Project and our Veterans? It's simple. Reach into your pocket and pull out whatever cash you have on hand. Now, set it aside, click this link --> Run for Heroes and donate that amount. It's that simple! All the money you donate goes directly to Heroes Project.

You want to give more? Please do so. No one will turn you down.

If you want some incentive, here is my goal for the race. I will definitely run or walk for 50 miles. My goal beyond that is to run, walk or crawl if I must for a total of 75 miles.

Help a runner out and donate. Thank you! Run for Heroes Donation link

Friday, July 4, 2014

What are you BBQing?


Before we talk BBQ, I want to thank the men and women who serve and have served. You are the reason we have our Independence. Thank you!

As this wonderful, holiday weekend approaches where fireworks light the sky, parades entertain, and friends and family celebrate, I thought it would be fun to talk BBQ. I mean seriously, who goes out to eat on July 4th?

What will you be grillin' or smokin'?

Hot dogs, burgers, chicken, ribs? Maybe some pulled pork or beef brisket?  Any of the above will soothe my growling tummy. As long as it is on a wood-fired grill or smoker and not one of those fancy gas or electric dohickeys. It just ain't the same.

Do you do a fruit salad? Or just go for the slices of watermelon WITH seeds? Give me a good old-fashioned watermelon and a seed spitting contest any day.

What's for dessert? Cookies, cake, or my favorite...Strawberry shortcake WITH whipped cream!!

Have any great recipes that you will be using this weekend for your family and friends BBQs? I am not a fan of bottle barbeque sauce so when I grill or smoke some meat I pull out the ingredients and slave over a hot stove and make homemade sauce. Yummy!

I mean truly, isn't homemade anything the best?!

Here is the recipe I use and friends and family have come to expect and enjoy. I like my sauce like I like my men...hot and spicy. The best part about this recipe is you can make the sauce hot and spicy or not.

Sauce Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup cider vinegar (vinegar is the best part of the recipe and key to a good BBQ sauce)
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar (I actually use Turbinado sugar)
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard (I actually used dry yellow mustard and the kind you put on a hot dog)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (use Mexican chili powder if you want more heat to your sauce)
Tabasco sauce to taste (I use habanero Tabasco sauce)

To make the sauce:
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the vegetable oil. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the remaining sauce ingredients, including Tabasco sauce to taste, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Set aside. Pour some of the sauce in a small bowl to use for basting the ribs. (I don't actually baste. I leave sauce to everyone's taste.)

Have a Happy 4th of July! May you and your family eat and enjoy each others company all weekend long.

Denise

Friday, March 7, 2014

Readers! Give to our Heroes and get a book

A year ago I did this event called Give a book, get a book. It was successful and we sent hundreds of books to our active military stationed overseas.

Now, I want to do something to thank our returning heroes, our Veterans. In particular, I am running to raise funds for an organization called Heroes Project who help Veterans with PTSD by getting them active again, by helping to provide them with workout equipment and gym fees, and more.

Since I'm also an author and I have some books sitting in a cupboard I thought, "Why not give a book for a donation?"

So, here I am asking you to spread the word and to help. If you haven't read one of my books, but would like to, or have a friend who hasn't read one of my books now is the time.

I have 15 copies of KILLER BUNNY HILL, 5 copies of CONNECT THE DOTS, and 5 copies of PHISH NET STALKINGS.

For every $25 or more donation you make to my Run for Heroes page then send me a comment I will send you one of the above books at my own cost.

If you want a particular book or want it signed to someone just leave that in the comment.

It's simple. Make a donation to thank our heroes at the link above, leave me a comment that you did so, tell me which book you want and voila!

As soon as I confirm the donation the book will be in the mail. Thank you for your support for our American Heroes!

This offer is good only until I run out of the books listed above.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year, New Goals


The New Year has arrived! 2014 will be a better year, or will it?

How do you plan to make 2014 a great year? Do you make resolutions? Or do you let the year bring what it may without outlining any personal goals?

I am a firm believer in resolutions. Not because someone will hold my feet to the fire if I don’t accomplish them but because it helps me keep my eye on the prize.

Do you set your resolutions on January 1 and then not check them until the end of the year when it’s too late or do you set timeline goals for each resolution?

I do both. I give myself timelines within the year that I should accomplish them, but am flexible enough that I don’t berate myself if I don’t complete something by a certain date.

What are your New Year resolutions? Are they purely personal, purely professional, or all of the above?

Mine are purely personal.

Do you share your resolutions?

I believe that if you share your New Year goals with others then you’ve cemented the deal and you push yourself to make them happen. That doesn’t mean I share all of them. There’s usually one very personal one that I keep to myself.
The best part of setting goals or resolutions, at least for me, is the chasing down of those dreams. It wouldn’t be any fun if it was just dropped on your lap. It takes heart and soul, sweat and tears to imagine a goal, set it, and achieve it.

What if you don’t achieve your goals? Do you kick yourself? Curl up in a corner and whine about it?

I tend to say as long as I tried then that’s all that counts. If I fall a little short then I pat myself on the back and determine if I need to adjust the goal. Is it more important to lose ten pounds or be able to run a 5K the entire time?

What are your resolutions for 2014?

I have a couple of running and health related goals this year. Okay, more than a couple.


My first goal is to run my first ultra marathon, a 50K. That’s 31 miles! I’ve already picked the race. It’s the Lake Waramaug Ultra in Connecticut on April 27. My only goal is to finish the race with a smile on my face.
I love running but I’m not exactly fast. My other running related resolution is to improve my half-marathon time to 2 hours 30 minutes. Last year I improved my half marathon time by more than twenty minutes. Yea me! So I’m only asking for another 10 minute improvement. Wish me luck!

Since we are talking time improvement, I might as well say that means I am also hoping to improve my marathon performance. Last year my goal was to run one marathon (the Marine Corps Marathon) and just finish. I did! I actually ran two marathons and I did improve between the two races so that was good, but now let’s see if I can do better when I run 4 marathons.

While I am at it, I want to run 2014 miles in 2014! Ha. Come on! Join me in the insanity.
For a more well-rounded health goal, I hope to lose 10% body fat. GASP! I just put that in black and writing for the world to see. I can feel my toes burning from having my feet held to the fire.

I want to improve my core. As part of this, I am pledging to do a 60-second or longer plank every day of 2014 and 20 body-weight squats. Now, this will be the hard part!
An easy resolution for me is to read 52 books, at least one a week. Since I’m an avid reader this is a fun goal and usually easily attainable. If this is one of your New Year resolutions, a good way to achieve this goal is to participate in read-a-thon’s. I really like the way the Dewey Read-a-thon is run and if possible, I participate in the 24-hr read-a-thon twice a year. Check out the Dewey Read-a-thon website at http://24hourreadathon.com/.

There is one more resolution on my list, but that one I am holding close to the vest. [WINK]


Hope you share your resolutions or goals and have fun achieving them in 2014.

Now, I'm off to work on these goals. Got my first race of the new year in a couple of hours. Okay, it's only a mile race, but it's with a friend and that time with a friend is more precious than any resolution.
Happy New Year! May it be the best!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Thank you, Marine Corps Marathon

Not only did the Marine Corps Marathon give me the opportunity to train, run, and finish the race of a lifetime and accomplish a major goal, but it gave me the opportunity to say thank you. Thank you to as many of the Marines as possible that I met the day of the race. This event allowed me to feel a part of something much bigger, something so emotional that I won’t soon forget and can never appropriately put into words. I got to see and experience why the Marine Corps Marathon is known as the People’s Marathon.

The day was perfect. The weather was beautiful and the 26.2 mile route was laden with history, monuments, gorgeous scenery, and a challenge to “beat the bridge”. It isn't the race route that I recall. As a matter of fact, I only remember noticing two monuments; the Capitol and the Washington Monument that was under construction. What I do recall are the people.

Bundled up in hats, jackets, and scarves against the chilly morning air, men, women and even children in strollers came out in droves; and never left. Spectators were not at just every mile marker, but at every step of the race. They held handmade signs of encouragement or humor, rang cowbells, cheered, shouted and clapped their support to one and all runners to the finish line. Heck, there were even spectators handing out Halloween candy to the runners for that added sugar boost.
The volunteers were numerous and amazing. These are the people who were up before the sun on race day in the chilly fall morning, setting everything up to make the Marine Corps Marathon enjoyable and memorable. They manned the port-a-potties (a thankless job), manned aid stations, helped hand out water and Gatorade, and were our general cheerleaders for 26.2 miles. They were the police blocking roads, keeping the streets safe, and who clapped along with the rest of the spectators as we passed their security point.

For me, the incredible and emotional part of the biggest challenge and race of my life were the Marines. These men and women not only made us feel secure, but they cheered, applauded, high-fived, shouted boot camp orders, and handed us Gatorade and water as we made our way to the finish line. They were the reason we pushed ourselves and continued to run when our bodies screamed in pain and wanted to give up.
The best part was the opportunity to shake hands with these Marines and thank them for their service. And at the end of the race, when I crossed the finish line a Marine placed the Marine Corps Marathon medal over my head, and then she saluted me. That little act was my undoing. I thanked the Marine and the others standing near her, shook their hands, and walked away with tears streaming down my cheeks and a grin on my face.

I may have accomplished something great that day, something I perceived to be a tough challenge, but it is nothing compared to what these Marines face and live every day and all to keep us safe.

I have never felt more humbled or proud.
Thank you to the US Marines not only for your service, but for giving me an opportunity of a lifetime.

I salute the Marines; thank the Marine Corps Marathon coordinators, volunteers, and all the spectators. You made this race for me and made this the People’s Marathon.
Oorah!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Virtual cheers for the Marine Corps Marathon

It’s almost that time! Thirty thousand runners will line up to run the streets of Washington, DC for the 38th Marine Corps Marathon. And where are you? Are you along the streets cheering your favorite runners to victory, encouraging them to block the pain? Or are you snuggled in your bed nice and toasty warm?

If you can’t be at the race you can still cheer on the runners and the Marines, you can do a virtual cheer. Send a tweet or post something on Facebook. Send up a virtual cheer!
Here are some typical cheer signs we will see along the way. Make one of your own and send it to the social media sites and give a shout out to all the Marine Corps Marathon runners, the Marines, and the volunteers that are making this event happen.

Here’s a few ideas:
Toenails are for sissies
Pain is temporary, glory is forever
Keep going, dig deeper
Beer awaits you
If it was easy, I’d be doing it
Stop reading, keep running
There’s only sweat between you and the finish line
Hot, sexy Marines ahead
I’m proud of you
Get your mind off the pain, rock this like a hurricane
Chafe now, wine later
No one made you do this
Smile if you’re not wearing underwear
Runners have balls, other sports just play with them
Take a deep breath and enjoy the moment
You’ve endured the training, now celebrate the pain

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