Our First 10K

Before you get the idea that we’re runners or anything, understand that we don’t run races, we run/walk them (4 minutes running, 1 minute walking). That method pretty much rules us out of any runners of the year type of awards.
That being said, in the winter, Jim needs a motivating exercise event. When the weather is nice, he can play tennis forever. But he hates exercising for the sake of exercising. (Exercise relaxes me and gives me peace of mind—I like it.) So we came up with the idea of signing up for a race.
There were multiple factors in deciding where and what to enter. First, wherever it was, the weather had to be pleasant—not too hot, not too cold, not too humid. (Yes, we are high maintenance runners.) Second, while we ran a half-marathon several years ago, it wasn’t an ideal distance. Mentally, you’re done when you hit the 10 mile mark, and you still have 3.1 miles to go. And, third, the destination had to be one of the rewards for doing the run.
We found one race that fits all of the criteria—the Disney Princess Enchanted 10K. First, Orlando in February is usually lovely (it wasn’t this time, but more on that later). Second, a 10K is perfect as it requires training but not a lot. And, third, what better place to go to race than Disneyworld? (I know, I know—reasonable minds disagree on that last point.)
In the end, it was unseasonably hot in Orlando last weekend, but, fortunately, the race was held at 5:30 in the morning, and there was a breeze, so the temperature wasn’t a problem. (What was a problem was that we had to get up at 3:00 am to get to the race on time—it was not this non-morning person’s favorite part of the race.)
The 10K is also a great distance because it’s not considered a “real” distance by serious runners, which means the bulk of the runners were doing it for fun and not taking it too seriously. There was wonderful camaraderie on the shuttle bus as we were waiting for the start.
And the Princess Marathon weekend itself is a hoot. For those of you familiar with the Bay-to-Breakers race, think costumes along those lines but without the sexually inappropriate ones. For those of you who are not familiar with Bay-to-Breakers, a large number of the runners are dressed in variety of elaborate princess outfits, tutus, tiaras, and other Disney costumes.
The race itself included live music and characters along the route, and many runners stopped to take photos with the characters. We were more concerned about being able to finish so did not succumb to the distractions as we wended our way through Epcot.
We both finished in 1:14.42 and are quite happy with our time and finishing the race without any trips to the emergency room (my threshold for a successful trip of any kind!). It was so much fun that we might even do it again next year!

Jim motivated to run!
running (actually, walking) together
enjoying the sunrise

Book review: The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff & Jonathan Haidt

The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure

The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Greg Lukianoff

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The authors set up the book with 3 Great Untruths that they think are endangering future generations. These Great Untruths are (i) what doesn’t kill you makes you weaker; (ii) always trust your feelings; and (iii) there is a battle of good vs evil (and you and your beliefs are, of course, on the side of good). The book posits these Great Untruths, demonstrates with data how these untruths have spread throughout society, and documents the harm these Great Untruths cause. (Among those harms is a higher incidence of depression and anxiety.)
The authors further propose solutions to combat these Great Untruths, the groupthink that accompanies them, and the institutions that cave into them.
I found this book especially interesting because the direction K-12 schools as well as college and universities have gone is in the direction of the Great Untruths, all from the best of intentions. And I especially think it is important for educational institutions to teach its children that reasonable minds can disagree and disagree with respect and civility. As the authors state, “Having people around us who are willing to disagree with us is a gift.”
Four stars and highly recommended.



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Vaping: Facts & Thoughts

For those of you who have been living in a cave the past few months in order to survive the winter, vaping is technically inhaling water vapor into the lungs. The term is more commonly in reference to an electronic cigarette. A device heats up nicotine liquid that then turns into water vapor, which you then inhale.

The federal government, specifically the Food and Drug Administration, is concerned about the addictive nature of vaping and how it is being marketed to young people.

But what are the actual facts around vaping?

First, there’s no doubt that vaping is safer for you than smoking tobacco. While both contain nicotine, the particulate matter from tobacco is more harmful than the nicotine from either. (https://academic.oup.com/ntr/article-abstract/21/1/41/4956222?redirectedFrom=fulltext)

Vaping is also an effective means to quit smoking. A recent study (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1808779) in the New England Journal of Medicine by a British public health researcher demonstrated that vaping was more effective than nicotine replacement treatment for smokers who wanted to stop. In addition, it is easier to quit vaping than smoking, and, as I’ve mentioned, the risks of vaping are also lower than that of smoking. In fact, the British Public Health Service doesn’t even consider vaping to be a serious health risk.

A different study (https://academic.oup.com/ntr/article-abstract/19/2/160/2631650) found that switching to vaping resulted in the same reductions of biomarkers of exposure to hazardous chemicals as quitting all types of smoking altogether. In other words, current smokers who switch to vaping dramatically reduce their health risk.

But what should you as a parent think about vaping?

There’s no doubt that, in an ideal world, your child would neither vape nor smoke. But all parents know that the desire to experiment (not to mention the lack of a frontal lobe) means that you should realistically expect that your child will try something (or perhaps many somethings) that you would prefer them not to try. And if the choice is between vaping and smoking, the clear winner from a health and safety perspective is vaping.

I am the mother of a 20 year old and a 17 year old. My husband and I count ourselves fortunate that they are both great kids with an excellent set of friends. But we are also realistic about the many choices available to them regarding experimental substances, now and in the future. And if they have to experiment, we’d much rather they choose something that, from a health perspective, is the best of an admittedly not ideal set of choices.

Let me be clear—I am not an advocate of vaping. But I would much rather my child vape than smoke (either tobacco or marijuana) or experiment with any other illicit substances. And even there is disagreement about my choices (and reasonable minds can most definitely disagree about this issue), those are my choices for my children. It should be up to each individual family to make its own decision in accordance with that family’s values, not for the government to make that choice on the family’s behalf.

What we as parents need is unfettered access to the facts so that we can make the choice that’s best for our families. What we don’t need is fear-mongering by government agencies and distorted interpretations of the available data by a government who, however well-meaning it may be, wants to substitute its judgment for ours.

Deer Valley 2019

We are creatures of habit, even if we prefer to call them traditions. Tradition dictates that during Presidents’ Day weekend, we join our ski-loving friends in Deer Valley for a weekend of skiing.
To be sure, our family can best be described as 2 non-skiers, 1 reluctant skier, and 1 enthusiastic skier. The enthusiastic skier (the 17 year old boy) has now skied a total of 1 weekend a year for the past 5 years and tackled his first black diamond slope on Sunday with control and skill. See below:

Despite the 1 in 4 skiing enthusiast ratio in our family, we thoroughly enjoy the weekend. Deer Valley is the Nordstrom of ski resorts, with excellent customer service and friendly staff (not to mention good skiing). Park City has a cute and fun downtown to walk around (we are particularly partial to the Park City Jewelers.) 🙂 Our contribution is to cook dinner (this year it was cioppino one night and make-your-own-pizza one night). Most importantly, we love spending time with our friends. We have known them for over 25 years, and we appreciate the relatively quiet time over the holiday weekend to re-connect and form new memories together.

Deer Valley

Movie review: Green Book

I seldom see serious movies in the theatre, mostly because if I am going to go to the bother of showing up at an appointed time and putting up with sticky floors and talkative movie goers, I had better enjoy the movie. (Which is why I generally stick with Disney/Pixar/Marvel movies in the theatre.) But this movie had come highly recommended, so off we went.
And it is fabulous! Viggo Mortensen plays an Italian-American bouncer who gets hired to drive Mahershala Ali, an African-American musician through the South on a performance tour. (“Green Book” refers to a travel guide for African-Americans designating safe places to stay throughout the South.) The movie traces both the journey and the various indignities piled upon Mahershala Ali’s character as well as the evolving relationship between the two men, who, on the surface, have nothing in common.
The plot, based loosely upon a real story, is perhaps fairly predictable. What puts this movie above many similar ones is the quality of the script and the quality of the acting. The movie doesn’t try and make any sweeping generalizations or moral statements, it sticks to the story of the two men, and the intimate nature of the movie does its work for it. Both Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali are excellent in portraying nuance and complexity in two characters that could easily have fallen into easily defined stereotypes. Viggo’s character is overtly racist, and he only reluctantly takes the job because he needs the money, but as the movie goes on, he proves to have a kind and tolerant heart. Mahershala’s character is cultured and well-educated, but that isn’t enough to prevent him from suffering discrimination. He thinks he’s superior to Viggo’s character, but he learns to appreciate the strengths of Viggo’s character while trying to improve him at the same time.
One of the most touching points of the movie comes when Mahershala’s character suffers an identity crisis. He has jumped through all the hoops of education and accomplishment and yet, he is still treated in accordance with the color of his skin. And the final indignity is at his final stop where he’s expected to play in front of an audience at a club, but the club won’t let him eat there because he’s black. The emotional crux of the movie is at this point, when the bond developing between the two men is tested in how they react in that moment.
The emotional shading and the growth of the characters is what makes this movie special. Four thumbs up for this movie. Go and see it!

Honolulu January 2019

I expect that everyone is tired of hearing of our trips to Honolulu and how glorious of a paradise it is. If so, then this is an easy blog post to skip. I just wanted to commemorate our annual 2019 trip-without-the-kids (to Honolulu, of course).
And also to point out without (much) gloating, of course, that Hawaii is truly a beautiful place.

The weather wasn’t ideal this trip with some rain and (relative) cool temperatures, but when Washington, DC suffers from a little bit of snow and a lot of cold (temperatures hit 4 degrees overnight once), a little bit of rain and mid-70s is to be appreciated.
We had our routine of walking around Diamondhead early every morning (about 7 miles) and going to the Bishop and Honolulu Art Museums. We also ate gloriously at some of our favorite restaurants, including Town, Chef Mavro (twice!), The Pig and the Lady, and Nobu, as well as at some more hole-in-the-wall restaurants like Doraku, Goma Tei, and Steak Shack.
But, most importantly, we spent time together (and it’s the only place where I am a morning person). We become empty nesters in about a year and a half, and it will be interesting to see how the adjustment goes. It seems like a good idea to us to periodically remind ourselves who the other person is across the breakfast table before that’s the only other person in the house. Just sayin…

sunrise over waikiki

Book review: Footsteps in the Dark by Georgette Heyer

Footsteps in the Dark

Footsteps in the Dark by Georgette Heyer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


3.5 stars actual rating

I adore Georgette Heyer Regency romances, and I am very fond of her mysteries as well. This particular one is completely representative of Heyer mysteries. There is a large quantity of witty dialogue, acute and funny commentary on British societal biases, a somewhat cursory but adorable romance, and oh, yes, a mystery to solve. (I suspect the priorities of the author were in that exact order.) This book isn’t going to stretch your brain cells or make you think about it much afterwards, but it is an extremely pleasant way to spend a few hours. The book delivers precisely what it promises, which is a frothy and delightful set of characters who happen to stumble upon a mystery to solve and a romance to conduct. For those of you who like light-hearted British cozy-type mysteries, this book is perfect for you.



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Book review: Code Girls: The Untold Story of American Women Code Breakers Who Helped Win World War II by Liza Mundy

Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers Who Helped Win World War II

Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers Who Helped Win World War II by Liza Mundy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


One of my (achievable) New Year’s resolutions is to read more non-fiction. “Code Girls” was a wonderful place to start. The author paints a detailed and knowledgeable picture of the role women played in World War II breaking both the Japanese and German codes. Despite their obvious intelligence and substantive contributions to the war effort, these women often faced discrimination during their service. And, yet, the vast majority of them persevered, wanting to do their part to support the war effort. Their patriotism and their contributions in breaking the codes of the enemy are an untold and underappreciated part of World War II history.
I found the descriptions of the code-breaking effort and what it entailed fascinating. But even more fascinating was reading about the backgrounds of the various women. Certainly, there were women from elite colleges such as Barnard and Smith that contributed. But many of the most brilliant code-breakers came from less exalted schools or were from rural areas or were schoolteachers or just looking for adventure. And while discrimination certainly existed, there were also senior (male) officers who were supportive and gave credit where credit was due.
Another factor that struck me was what happened to many of the women once the war was over. A few of them stayed in what ultimately became the NSA, but most of the women left government service and started families. They rarely talked about their wartime activities and while many found their lives fulfilling, the excitement and the feeling of making a difference was something that was missing from their subsequent lives.
I highly recommend this book as an excellent resource of a little-known part of the United States war effort.



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2018 New Year’s Eve Dinner at Métier (Washington, DC)

As consolation for not being able to go to Hawaii over holiday break (a First World problem, I know), we celebrated New Year’s Eve with dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Métier, the younger sibling of Kinship, headed up by Chef Eric Ziebold and his wife, Celia Laurent.


To our delight, the kids decided that they would rather have dinner with their parents than hang out with their friends to celebrate the new year (I suspect us raving over the food had something to do with it).

We think Eric is one of the most gifted chefs we have ever encountered, and he certainly performed beyond our expectations once again. Once we arrived at the main dining room, we began with an Avocado Carpaccio with persimmon glaze, shaved radish, minced brioche croutons, and Ossetra caviar.

avocado carpaccio

Next up was a Russet Potato Pancake with braised quince, spiced crème fraîche, smoked salmon roe, and pumpkin coulis. Who knew something as rustic as a potato pancake could taste so elegant and delightful?

russet potato pancake

Koshikari Garlic Fried Rice with aoyagi clam ceviche, marinated bok choy, crispy shitake mushrooms, and yuzu kosho-clam broth followed. No further words are needed.

koshikari garlic fried rice

The most impressive dish of the evening was a Confit of Savoy Cabbage Agnolotti served with roasted Brussels sprouts, hazelnut broth, and Périgord truffles. The dish was impressive because to be able to create an agnolotti that tasted of essence of cabbage is a superb feat of creativity and cooking.

confit of savoy cabbage agnolotti

Chatham Bay Cod En Persillade was next, accompanied by hay smoked leeks, celery root, pickled celery branch, and Maine lobster bisque. Heavenly.

cod en persillade

And, in case you weren’t quite full enough, the Métier Borscht was served, complete with a grilled Martin Farm beef calotte, heirloom beet tapenade, tempura, and à la Grecque and beet-infused beef consommé. Amazing.

métier borscht

We ended this delightful meal with a Vanilla Olive Oil Parfait served with citrus salad, Meyer Lemon curd, blood orange sorbet, and Niçoise olive meringues. As Jim said, “For a non-chocolate dessert, this was amazing.”

vanilla olive oil parfait

Service throughout the evening was friendly, unobtrusive, and skilled. It was truly a memorable way to celebrate the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019!

Christmas 2018

Christmas 2018 will go down in the family chronicles as the Christmas with an (Over) Abundance of Lintotts. :). Jim’s mother, brother, sister-in-law, and nephew all joined us for our Christmas celebration. It was the first time in many years that the three grandchildren all spent Christmas with their grandmother, and it was lovely that everyone could be together to enjoy the holiday.

For Christmas dinner, we had been given a porchetta by some close friends, so the menu was as follows:

Porchetta
Gougères
Caesar salad (with homemade dressing)
Potatoes Anna
Wild Blackberry Pie

We hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season!

the porchetta in its “natural” state
Christmas dinner
The Lintott Family Christmas
The family Christmas lights