I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday! My family and I are Jewish so Hanukkah was celebrated on the 5th of December. Karel joined in on the festivities and we lit the menorah and exchanged a gift with my family. Since Hanukkah isn't a big holiday for us it is often compared to Christmas, hence the giving of presents. I am a big present giving and it is really hard for me to keep things from people so I have to wait as long as I can to buy gifts or else i will just ruin the surprise. This year I did well with keeping things secret for Karel's christmas. Since Karel's family lives in Czech I have really tried hard on learning about his Christmas and bringing in his traditions and family customs. Well, in part of the czech christmas we exchange gifts on Christmas Eve and have a nice dinner before the gift giving. After a morning run and swim I got going on the cooking and I was on my feet all day. I absolutely love cooking but part of my job of the Czech Christmas dinner was baking. When I cook, I can substitute ingredients and play with the recipes in order to make them healthy and yummy. Well, in baking I only mess up the final product when I try to make things healthy. Not that it can't be done but I don't have much experience in baking. There is a bread called Vanochka and it is like Challah (breaded bread). I tried my best to at least make it look like the real thing but I'm sure it wasn't as good as Karel's mom's cooking. I tried to be patient about the rising of the dough so I think I did ok. Karel made a fantastic potato salad which is also a tradition from his family christmas dinner. The potato salad is made with all organic and fresh veggies and super healthy for potato salad. Of course his mom grows them at home so they are all super fresh! Another staple for the Czech dinner is carpe but karel uses Grouper, Talapia or Tuna. This year it was Tuna which turned out well (so he says) and it was seasoned tofu for me. I also made a salad for me and sauerkraut soup for Karel. It was a great dinner and karel told me stories of when he was young and his dad would take him for a walk before dinner so that the family would set-up the tree with all the decorations and lights. In Czech and possibly other European places, people wait to put up a tree until Christmas Eve and kids can't see it until Jezisek (baby jesus or American Santa) comes to ring the bell. Once the bell was rung, the tree was lit, dinner was served and then it was present time.
Karel and I were both good this year so Jezisek was nice to both of us. We are good at not buying gifts just for the act of buying (and giving) so we tend to wait until things go on sale, there is a special online or we know that the other one would really like the gift. Of my favorite gifts I got a Super Grover Jersey which I just love! I am a big fan of grover and I collect stuffed animal grovers. For those who need me to clarify, yes, I am talking about Grover from Sesame Street and no I will never grow up! :) I also got the Joe Friel Triathlon Training journal which is perfect since I have been seeing Karel write in his cycling journal and I've been getting a little envious. I was also given a new Women's carbon FSA Handlebar for my bike since my hands are just a bit small for the men's handlebar. What a great gift from my bike guru and I can't be upset with a gift for my bike! And lastly, a Garmin GPS for my car. Ok, I know this was a nice gesture but I must explain. I am notorious for getting lost. I come from Lexington, KY which, although it is a growing town, in my opinion it is quite small compared to anywhere in Florida. I grew up there so I knew all the roads and it was hard to get lost with a circle (New Circle) as our biggest road. I'm use to left and right not east and west and although I can read a map I'm so use to going on instinct and looking for the closest Mc'D's, grocery store or other destination to help me get where I am going. So, I have had far two many "I'm lost" phone calls to karel and my family. I try to give myself enough time but I usually find my way to where I am going with karel (or my dad) getting on the Internet as I am tearing up trying to find my way. I guess Karel was tired of the phone calls and although it was a great gift, I think it was for him to not have to help me with my directions any more :)
I completely spoiled Karel with bike swag. A bike wine rack, bike candle, poster and book. A couple other fun gifts and I think this holiday was great. Regardless if there were 10 presents, one present or no presents I am always happy to have special people in my life. I think the best part of this holiday was getting on my bike on Tuesday morning and riding with karel. We parted after about 10 miles but it was so peaceful and calm outside. The weather was overcast and a bit cool and there were few cars on the road. I saw several runners, walkers and bikers and everyone was so happy. Being on my bike and following my 45 mile ride with a nice breakfast just made for a wonderful morning. So regardless of all the presents, I am so thankful to have a healthy body which allows me to do so many fun things. I'm thankful that I can run again and I'm thankful that I have a loving family and lots of great friends. I hope everyone had a nice holiday and enjoyed some of the finer things in life. Have a healthy day!