Sunday, August 31, 2008

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cool advertising billboards for the Nike Human Race.

There were four of them, all in a row. The idea goes along with their theme of "Compete against the world" (with their new technology, of course!)

Along the same lines, I received an email from one of my friends in Dallas. He was joking with me about our competing to see who has the best time in the Human Race. I thought it was funny and worth sharing with you. Check out the email and the pics.

"I KNOW you're not trying to compete with me! It's NO competition if I am 5 minutes behind you! But believe me when I say this. I WILL, ONE DAY, TRY TO COMPETE WITH YOU!!! And may the BEST man or woman win! So take that! LOL! ;-)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Chocolate chip cookies

Lately I’ve had this huge craving for chocolate chip cookies. I’ve looked around and I just can’t seem to find the kind that I like – soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside and full of chocolate chips and walnuts. I’m the type of person that thinks a desert is not a desert unless it includes chocolate. Anyway, chocolate chip cookies are one of my absolute favorites (the other one being brownies). I think of them as one of the finer things in life. (-:

I’m not a very good cook, but after realizing that the last time I ate one was in February, when I visited my family in Texas, I started to think that now is a good time to learn how to make them.

After looking through a couple of websites for recipes, I finally decided on one that didn’t seem too complicated or call for exotic ingredients. I went out and bought everything I needed and then spent the better part of an afternoon making them. My oven here does not have numbers on it to let you know how hot the oven is, so after taking out a pan of under-cooked cookies and a pan of burned cookies, they finally started to come out like I was wanting.

I don’t know if you like chocolate chip cookies, but I would like to share the recipe with you.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons hot water
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in flour, chocolate chips, and nuts. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans.
3. Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.

I know there are all sorts of variations on the chocolate chip cookie, and all different ways that you can make them, but I just went for a basic recipe that I felt like I could do. I hope you like them as much as I did.

Te mando besos,

I picked up my race packet for the Nike Human Race today...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Argentine Gestures

There are lots of things that I love about Buenos Aires. I love the city itself: the architecture, the green spaces, the huge monuments that are in the middle of the road, the public transportation, the fact that it is so dense and compact. Also, since I’m a runner, I love that there are four distinct seasons here; although the summers are hot and humid, they are nothing compared to what I’ve experienced in Texas. I love that there are lots of places to run here and that I can pretty much feel safe running by myself (most of the time (-:). I also love the food: the way it’s prepared, in general what is offered, and the fact that I can go to almost any restaurant and always find something that I like.

I could go on and on.

What I really want to tell you about is something that I think makes this place absolutely special. I mean, lots of places have great architecture, great food, and public transportation, right? So when I was thinking about what makes this place different, the first thing that came to my mind was the way that Argentines use lots of gestures while they are speaking. It’s something that I think I will probably think about for the rest of my life – something that I think adds a lot of color to the culture here. It’s something that is hard to explain in words (and in pictures), but I want to try to do it anyway.

Pretty much my first year here, every time I would be talking with someone and they would make one of these gestures, I would think to myself that they have got to be joking. In general, in the US, people don’t use as many gestures as they do here. It was just so different to me, so foreign, that I had a hard time taking it all in! Also, one of the gestures that people use here is considered extremely vulgar in the US (I’ll tell you which one later).

Here goes a list of my favorites.


“Careful!” “Watch out for…”

One would make the gesture while they are saying ¡Ojo! as opposed to the other gestures where you don’t say anything with them.

An example of how to use this would be the following. “If you cross over that street and continue going straight ahead you will get to the park, but ¡Ojo! (and the speaker actually stops and does the facial expression while saying it) even though the street is a one-way, the cars drive in both directions.” Imagine how I felt the first time I had someone do this while talking to me! I was like, Whoa! What was that?

¡Ni idea!

“I have no idea whatsoever.”

This is the gesture that is considered extremely vulgar in the US. When you do this while you are there it means f**k you or f**k off. I was in shock the first time I saw this one! I remember the first person that did this in front of me, my Spanish tutor. I remember thinking, This guy is freakin’nuts!

¿Qué te pasa?

“What’s your problem?” or “What’s up with that?”

The first time I saw this one, I was talking with a friend. She stopped talking, looked over to her side and did this gesture. I was like uhhh, what are you doing? Another time, I was in a taxi and another driver almost cut us off. The taxi driver did this to the other driver.

La posta

“The very best”

This one is done while talking about something. You put your hand in a certain position and then quickly flick your wrist – sometimes twice or three times hitting certain words in your sentence. The idea here is to emphasize that whatever it is you are talking about is the absolute best.

Here are some examples. I put a star where one might do the gesture.

Usain Bolt runs *really fast * (gesture here), I mean *really fast*. He set the world record in the 100m and the 200m.

*The cake* that my mother makes, they don’t offer anything like that here..

Voy a castigarte

“You are going to be in trouble”

Parents often do this gesture to kids to show them they are going to get it when they get home. Only one of these gestures has more effect than a thousand words.



This is one that can be done with or without saying something. For example, when I see my friend, Ruben, on the trail, he often does this gesture to show me that he thinks I am running fast. A different example would be when my friend Paula was talking to me about what they did during running class on Saturday morning, she said “We ran 8 strides of 100m, *really fast*” and did the gesture while she was talking.

I know that there are a lot more gestures that people do here. Let me know if there is one or two that you really like. Or, if you are from here, let me know if there is something that foreigners do that you like.

For me, the Argentine gestures and especially the people that make the gestures are part of the soul of this city.

Te mando besos,

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

This billboard for an upcoming race really surprised me.

Here in Argentina, sexism or male chauvinism is pretty much the norm. When I saw this billboard for an upcoming race, I think my jaw dropped to the floor - seriously. The translated version of this would be "There are days when I want to be alone. That is why I leave everyone behind."

Here's the big part: It shows a woman running ahead of a man. Yes, you did read that correctly. They are showing a woman not only running in front of a man, but the idea is that she is actually passing him. Wow! I am in disbelief!

The thinking behind this marketing campaign is so modern, so progressive, so now. It's just so, what's the right word?! Check it out.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Check out some of the photos I received in an e-birthday card...

A couple of photos of my nephew with his cute little birthday shirt just for me. (-:

And a photo of something I love to eat when I'm in the US - powdered donuts! My sister took this pic for me for my birthday. Thirty-three donuts with a candle in the middle!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Who's your daddy?

Usain Bolt of Jamaica with a new world record of 9.69 in the men's 100m.
Click here if you would like to see a video of the race.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Sam!


You came into my life one year ago and I haven’t stopped thinking about you ever since. You see, even though you are my nephew, I think of you as a part of me: maybe it’s the way you look just like my sister, the way you make me think of the past and the future mixed together all at once, or the happiness that I feel because you bring so much joy to the family, but I think of you like my son.

Happy birthday Samuel Preston Lerer, I love you.

Thank you to Susan and Josh who brought you into this world and for all the love and hard work you put into Sam’s first year of life. I love you guys.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Goooooood morning!

I’ve been a runner for a long time. I’m about to turn 33 (in two weeks) and when I think back on my how long I’ve been a runner, I would say that I started running when I began junior high school, or 7th grade. I would have been 12 years old at the time. I’ve never actually sat down and thought it all out, but I’ve been a runner for 21 years – wow!

It’s funny because when I think back on all the miles I’ve run and all the cities I’ve lived in, the one thing that stands out to me is that usually there is someone that I see everyday on my running route that I see as one of my “running friends”. This person may or may not be a runner, but they are someone that I see every day and I consider them a part of my running.

For example, I don’t know if I’m ever going to be able to forget this man who I would call a “character” on the Townlake Trail in Austin, Texas. (Austin has a 4, 5, 7 and 10 mile loop that goes around a part of the Colorado River in the middle of downtown. This is the place to run in Austin.) I don’t know how this guy was (or is) but he seemed like he was about 80 years old. He was really, really white, had white hair, and always wore some sort of old-school running outfit, ya know, knee-high socks with thick stripes and a terrycloth headband.

There were two things about this guy that made him seriously interesting. One was that when the weather was cold, he wouldn’t wear a long sleeve shirt, he would wear a pair of his knee-high socks with stripes on his hands (and up to his elbows) as “gloves”. Sweet! The other thing is that he would say good morning to everyone, and I mean e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e on the trail. His “good morning”’s were kind of long and drawn out. I remember laughing as I would run by him because he sounded like this…

Gooooood morning, gooooood morning, good morning, gooooooooooooood morning, good morning, gooood morning, good morning, goooooooooood morning…………

It was like this constant salutation that never ceased. I have to say, I loved this guy. He was a fixture on the trail. Always there. Always.

Now that I’m living and running in Buenos Aires, I have a new running friend to be appreciative of. His name is Ruben, and yet again, he looks like his about 80 years old. Almost every afternoon he sits in his lawn chair in a certain location at the Lago del Golf.

It took Ruben a while to acknowledge me, something like 4 or 5 months, but now, boy does he bring a ray of light to my running. I often run around the Lago de Golf, which is a 2k loop. If I’m running 15k I may see him 3, 4 or even 5 times in one night.

He is so sweet to me. When I first see him, he always opens up his arms really wide to show me that he wants a kiss. I, of course, always stop, give him a kiss on the cheek and chat with him for a little bit. If I haven’t seen him in a while he greets me with the ever popular “¡Tanto tiempo!” then asks how my life is going.

He also is my cheerleader. When he first started noticing me, he would just kind of do this Argentine gesture for “Wow, you are running really fast!”, and then as I got to know him a little more, he started calling out my split times for each loop and cracking jokes like “not good enough, faster!” He has always been a bright spot in my running.

I think what I’m really trying to say is that I’m thankful for all of the “characters on the trail” that have brought something special to my running. These people have been there for me day after day, to say hello, to ask how I’m doing, to cheer me on. They are there for me when I’m having a down day in my running, there to lift me up a bit in order to keep going. And for this, I just wanted to say thank you.

Friday, August 1, 2008

How to Beat the Winter Blues

I went to running class the other day. As I was going over there I really started to notice how dark it was and just how empty our normal place to run seemed. As I looked around, it kind of bummed me out. I mean, I was going over there at around 7:15 to make our 7:30 class, and it was really dark.

When I got there, I blurted out something really brilliant to my friend, something like “Wow, it’s really dark!” I got an equally brilliant response in return from her, “yeah, Jen, it’s winter.” I couldn’t help but laughing.

You know, after 32 years of winters, you would think I would be used to it, but I’m not. It’s not that I don’t know it’s coming, but right in the middle of it, I always seem to notice of how little daylight there is.

After asking my friend how much longer we have before spring, and realizing that we have another 2 months, I decided I needed to think up something to beat my winter blues. After tossing around a couple of possible ideas, I thought of the perfect solution, something to really put a spring in my step – I decided to go shopping. (-:

Right now all of the stores here are having sales to get rid of their autumn and winter merchandise. This means literally, everything is at a discount. (I love that word.) And since there are 2 more months of winter, I thought that I would have plenty of time to wear my new digs.

I decided to head over to a shopping mall where I could hit as many stores as possible in a short amount of time. Wow, was that an experience! It seems like I’m not the only woman in town that wants to take advantage of the sales going on. I went on a Monday night and the stores were pretty much packed - women trying things on and men sitting down with a pleading look on their face that says “When do we get to leave?”

So I wouldn’t just wander around aimlessly, not knowing what I’m looking for, I decided to shop for one item in particular. Boots. I love new boots, especially the knee-high variety; they just seem to elevate an outfit.

After going in to almost all the shoe stores, I spotted a few at one store that were just what I was looking for – the perfect shape, color, style. I think I tried on 6 pairs, including for example, the same pair in different sizes and just as the poor salesman was starting to give me a hard time, I found the one that was going to go home with me. I figured, you know you’ve hit a winner when you walk through the store with them on and 3 other ladies look at you and say, “I want to try on those!”

And now, as I look down at my knee-high, low-heeled, with shine, black leather boots, I think to myself……winter blues? What winter blues? I love winter!