How far away is ‘too far’? Is China far? It sure seems that way, but China also seems a bit closer this week as my brother and his wife come to visit all the way from Shanghai, where they currently live, for two weeks to celebrate Thanksgiving.

If you didn’t already notice, my blog site looks different! I decided to take on a new name that was representative of different characteristics of rural living in the city, as in ‘taking a bite’ out of Country Way living, and I think the new layout connects the rural concept more distinctly. I needed some room to breathe. I am hoping to be re-inspired as a more consistent blogger also. Please let me know what you think of it!

In other, other news – having just had a Milestone Birthday and hearing that my bro ran a marathon in China, where the air quality is hardly as clean as here in the Northeast, I have decided to run my first half-marathon next spring! Yeah, not such big news for lots of my friends who are chronic, sick runners (love you all!) but for me, for some personal and not as personal reasons, it is a REALLY big deal. I have yet to pick a race but I have been working on upping my mileage slowly and doing some treadmill speed work so in my head anyways, I am in training mode. Do you have a favorite half-marathon race in the greater New England area you recommend for a first time longer distance race?

I snapped these pictures last weekend while working a very cool event at the Community Rowing Center in Watertown along the Charles River. This building received some fairly major architectural and design awards in 2010 for the innovative way the boat house was built to allow one side to elevate and allow the racks of skulls (aka boats) into the building. It is really beautiful, in a graphical sorta way.

I also took these stunning flowers home after the event so they wouldn’t get tossed out. Gorgeous and they have lasted so well!

This was my sweet partial haul from heading to the Sherman Market to do some damage on the gift certi. I received for my birthday. I picked up nitrate-free bacon from Vermont Smoke & Cure (seriously VT Smoke & Cure – call me! 😉 ), Shelburne Farms Cheddar (makes for THE VERY BEST grilled cheese on the planet, with a hint of straight-from-the-cow high fat to make it extra gooey; GAH droool), Thatcher Farms chocolate milk (more running means I can drink more chocolate milk for recovery, yeehaw), and local MA. eggs ($3/dozen – that is UNHEARD of cheap for local eggs, I think, no?). As you can see, I sorta dove into the milk right after my 4 mi. run Sunday.

Last week was super busy and the next two weeks are going to be even more insane. I am gearing up to start volunteering for a new organization called Cooking Matters as an Assistant Prep Chef in their cooking classes for under-served families and children across Mass and cannot wait! Other than T-Day looming in the next 48 hours (I committed to trying to pull off Kristin’s Green Bean Casserole & a roasted veggie dish tomorrow night; I’ll let you know how they turn out!), I need to cram in as much seeing the bro-ski time as possible, maybe have some outdoor adventures this weekend (I have NOT been hiking enough. Boo), and get ready to head to VT next week as I was invited to serve as a judge for Supreme Court Cases at my alma mater, Vermont Law School – totally pumped and nervous for this! Eek!

See you after the cranberries settle!