Grohe Ladylux³ & stainless soap dispenser

13 Nov
I loved my old chrome Grohe Ladylux faucet so much, but after 21 years of mineral filled water, the handle was moving harder and it was dripping a bit.   A plumber fixing a leak under the sink in half-bath used my kitchen faucet and reminded me I really needed to replace it.  The problem was finding one I liked nearly as much.
Grohe Ladylux3

NEW!! Grohe Ladylux3. “Pure Freunde an Wasser” (German for “pure pleasure in water”)

Grohe’s German design, quality and technology is superb, but so expensive.  Shopping around, I looked at Lowe’s, Home Depot and the Granite Group/Ultimate Bath Store.  My Grohe these days, $500-800, so figured I’d go with something less expensive like Delta, recommended by plumber.  A fabulous woman who is also an interior designer at Ultimate Bath Store miraculously found me a discontinued color (with black, just like my old one) of my same Grohe model (Ladylux) for less than I’d pay for Delta!
Just to make sure, I asked lots of advice, recommendations, read reviews.
NEW Grohe Ladylux and new soap dispenser

NEW Grohe Ladylux and new soap dispenser

The write-up : 
Best-selling pull-out faucet has been given an updated look.

This new design combines the innovative design of today’s modern kitchens with the functionality and durability of a professional tool. The Ladylux³ features a dynamic and flowing silhouette with a more streamlined body than its predecessors. The flower-like body rises organically from the counter and merges with an elegantly arched spout and distinctive lever.   (I dig the “flower-like” reference!)

With its fluid curves and graceful gooseneck design, the LadyLux3 Café single-handle pull-down spray head kitchen faucet is as elegant and eye-catching as it is functional. Standing 14 ¾ inches tall, its striking profile comprises a high-arc swivel spout that extends 8 1/8 inches in reach and incorporates a pull-down sprayhead. Spray control allows users to switch between two spray modes—regular flow and spray—with a simple push of a button.

GROHE SpeedClean protects the spray nozzles against limescale buildup, and the lever handle, equipped with a GROHE SilkMove cartridge for smooth control of the water temperature and volume, rotates forward to turn the faucet on, eliminating installation issues relating to backsplash clearance. LadyLux3 Café has a 1.75-gpm water flow.  It comes in several finishes and says: the professional’s choice GROHE RealSteel®.

It was surprising to see the variation in cost between faucet finishes.  The retail for Ladylux in chrome is $539, jumping up to $699 for Supersteel and $869 for RealSteel Stainless.  Dang, I saw that Grohe’s retail for my version finish with RealSteel Stainless Steel/Black was $881!!!   Thankfully, mine was hugely discounted.   I interviewed 3 plumbers re: installation and went with a great referral who installed it last week.   When I tried my new Grohe, I realized how rough the old one had been operating.   Plus this piece not only looks like a piece of sculpture – gorgeous & fascinating visually – the handle operates soooo smoothly.

Elle checking out new soap dispenser

Elle checking out new soap dispenser

Similarly, I looked for a better deal than the $159 retail soap dispenser to match the faucet.  The designer picked out one which matched, but when it was installed, I found that it was plastic and the pump didn’t work nearly as well as my previous soap dispenser.  Customer reviews agreed.  So I watched a YouTube video, removed it and replaced with same model soap dispenser as I had before, but with stainless finish to match new faucet.   Check it out in photo.  I can use one hand, it self primes, pumps great and sits low profile, and looks good with new Grohe faucet.

Elle & new Grohe Ladylux.. kitty shower?

Elle & new Grohe. Reminding me a reason why I nixed the “touch” activated on/off

Millennium Running, CHaD, Trick or Trot 3k, October 31, 2015 – PR

5 Nov

I ran this race last year as part of the “Holiday Hat Trick” and it was a pleasure to get to do it again as part of the Millennium Running “Points Chase” (and “Holiday Hat Trick” too)

Love seeing the Millennium Arches

Love seeing the Millennium Arches

With a Morton’s Neuroma causing toe off trouble and right knee which needs a lot of TLC, I sometimes get kinda frustrated about running, so I really cherish good days when they happen.

View from the bridge, we cross river twice

View from the bridge, we cross river twice (photo courtesy Dave Dunham)

Like all Millennium Events, this was fabulously done – the professionalism, details and great staging – easy registration, custom race numbers, announcers, sound, WMUR TV sports director Jamie Staton and the incredibly welcoming black & white inflatable arches!

I must have registered early, got number 33

I must have registered early, got number 33

It goes without saying that Millennium will have plenty of water, Power Ade, yogurt, fruit, pizza and post race beer.  This race had a kid’s Halloween carnival with climbing wall, exotic animals, bounce house, food truck vendors.  Plus, it’s really a gorgeous course up and over the Merrimack River.

I warmed-up running the course.  Race start was 2:30 p.m., temperature in 50’s and lots of people in Halloween costumes.

Start photo, courtesy Dave Dunham

Start photo, courtesy Dave Dunham

I lined up several rows back – there were 854 runners – we were off!  Jade said she was running easy, so I tried to get past her, then I put in a good effort on the uphill & we were on the bridge.  Not the time to enjoy the view, focus!  Super fast Muriel was ahead, so I tried to not let her gain more distance ahead of me.  Running legend Dave Dunham was on the bridge right before the hairpin turn.  It was great to see him, we runners really appreciated the support of an elite runner/coach like that.  Back across the bridge and I tried to keep strong, Muriel kept about the same distance ahead.  The downhill was fun and a few quick turns and back to Arms Park.

Often in races, I visualize being on the track to keep my form and estimate potential kick.  Rounding the final turn through the arch, I made my move on Muriel, yelling “let’s go!!!” and kicked !!!! It’s so memorable hearing announcer Andy Schachat’s loud shout out – another great Millennium detail, it makes you feel kind of like an elite runner.

Final Kick!!

Final Kick!!

Not knowing how close Muriel was, I kept running beyond the line and it took me a moment to “decelerate” and turn around.  I saw Aimee Sherman (finally got to meet) and then I ran the course again as warm-down.

Muriel’s husband Norm, came up to me afterwards and said he told Muriel she’s not supposed to slow down at the finish – making me laugh.  She is a phenomenal, strong competitor, I felt very lucky to catch her that day.

Additional appreciated Millennium details were a “Holiday Hat Trick” series coffee mug (mmmm keeps my hands warm!) long sleeve shirt that fits and slightly different from last year (so I don’t have 2 identical) and a very, very cherished 1st master glass (different style from other races this year)

Holiday Hat Trick coffee mug, 1st F Master glass, long sleeve women's shirt

Holiday Hat Trick coffee mug, 1st F Master glass, long sleeve women’s shirt

We had 3 choices of bars for post-race celebration and a lot of us went to Milly’s, right next door.

Post-race Celebration Milly's.

Post-race celebration Milly’s. Cherishing the journey to get that winning F master mug!

My time was 5 seconds faster than last year, so it was a 3k PR!  Winning 1st F master meant a lot, I felt very lucky and surprised.  The wonderful friends, camaraderie, atmosphere of striving for one’s personal best excellence :)   What a great day it turned out to be!!!

1st F master of 117, 12:49  6:53

In the Points Chase, I kept my place as 1st female master, 3rd female and 9th overall !!

Results link

Millennium Running, Traveler Beer New England Half Marathon 10.04.15

6 Oct
Run towards the dome!! All the way from Loudon

Run towards the dome!! All the way from Loudon

With not many longish runs this year, I had the nerves and excitement as if this was a marathon.   The extras & details made it feel like a marathon too!  Number pick up the day before, fleece jackets, waterstops competing to be the best, fanfare with cowbells, Millennium arches & Traveler signs along the course, post race with friends.  It turned out to be one of my best race experiences in a lot of years… from the training on our “home course” and the build up to the event, to the challenge of the distance (my longest race in almost a year), so many familiar faces, fabulous weather, Millennium Running’s incredible attention to details, first class quality.   I am pleased with my time, fastest half since March 2013, but especially for my friends hitting their big goals, PRs and sharing their race experiences with them!

Saturday number pick-up was seamless and so convenient at Grappone Center.

Number pick up

Number pick up

Sunday at 8:30, Jim and I dropped his car at the finish and took mine to the Loudon Speedway start.  It had been in the 30’s earlier that morning, so we were studying the wind/temperature.   Josh Fields decided the tailwind = less clothing, so I switched my long sleeve to arm sleeves & gloves, shivering we went to the start, knowing I’d warm up.

New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, race start

New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, race start

After about 2 miles on 106 we turned right and then onto the dirt road.   It was gorgeous and comfortable underfoot, but I was not sure how long it would be  – Jim said afterwards it was about 3 miles of dirt.

What a beautiful surprise to see the Millennium black & white arch reaching up at 10K!   THEN we got to our Shaker course – my 5 mile mark from my house, so many memories & long runs on that road.  Julianne was at Oak Hill trail with the best/loudest cowbell (frying pan too?) cheering ever!  Even the hill at Snow Pond felt effortless this day.  Our training hill – slipping down it in the winter, seeing the ladyslippers in May – usually Jim would surge, Perry tells me I put the pressure on there too –  our hill interval until the farm at the top!!

Several of the water stops were a kick, reminded me of Cape Cod marathon with costumes, leis, and even live music at Shaker Road school!  Another Millennium mega arch looked so welcome at 10 miles and I saw a few people who knew me from running that road, including Alex Vogt who reached out to touch my hand as I ran by.   Down Eastman and I was passing people, even on the narrow bike bridge I passed 2 people…  more memories, another long run route and a very fast 10 mile race for state age record.

I was surprised my legs felt OK  and near Horseshoe I saw Greg Audet ahead and I put on a chase.  Dang, he was running fast!  I told him congratulations it was his PR day and he said Jim was just ahead, but didn’t make a move to come with me.   It’s a switchback up to 393 and I saw Jim.    I caught him almost at the top and asked finish together?

Rounding to N. Main, perfectly positioned Dana B. caught my gloves and then I was ready to open it up for a sprint down Main towards the finish.   Jim told me go, it was OK.    It so memorable how it played out.  I couldn’t believe how good my legs and form still felt – sprinting down Main Street towards the golden dome.  Ooops, surprise turn to Centre and slight incline – no problem, I can hear announcer Andy Schachat’s voice.  Corrals and crowds, Andy saying something like “here comes running hall of famer, Sarah Prescott”… YAY, hit my watch and I crossed the finish line!!!! I was elated, everything went so incredibly well!!

finish line in sight

finish line in sight

Jamie Staton gave me a congratulatory smile & fist bump and I received my medal from Miss NH contestants.  I turned around for double high fives as Jim finished 30 seconds behind me.  Whew, done!

Last straightaway

Last straightaway

Greg finished strong 30 seconds later with his incredible 6+ min PR.  I checked results screen (slightly disappointed with place, 12th Female Master of 248) there were quick chicks!  My time (1:48:14, 8:16) was faster than anticipated and everything else came together perfectly, I seriously have no reason to complain for sure.    What a fabulous day.   Hey, even a really good band was playing on the Legislative Office Building steps… love this Bill Withers song, Use Me

With medals, band playing on stairs in background, Millennium lead car

Kovar brothers with medals, band playing on stairs in background, Millennium lead car

How about this for post-race snack – a mobile, copper, wood fired flatbread/pizza oven! I think mine was cheese herb variety — just a bit of scrumptiousness kept me from going into a post-race bonk.  American Flatbread’s wood-fired pizza oven truck, yum!

Warm dry clothes (handicap ramps + post race legs!) then Ellen Carr Tidd, Tim Pifer, Jim, the Kovars and I went to Margaritas for race sponsor Traveler curious shandy, sample of pumpkin too and promotion (posed for photos with Traveler moustaches).

Ellen's bro-in-law Jonathan Kovar and his brother Robert. Traveler sponsors promo, mustaches at Margaritas

Ellen’s bro-in-law Jonathan Kovar and his brother Robert. Traveler sponsors promo, mustaches at Margaritas

John Mortimer stopped in to say “hi” – kind as always.  We got the couches near Margarita’s fireplace and Greg Audet joined us.  Runners everywhere sharing race experiences… we toasted each other with our new Traveler pint glasses.    Walking back to the car, we talked with more friends at Eagle Square, then Loudon Speedway for my car.  We will be reminiscing about these great race memories for a lot of years to come!!!

Results, 1:48:14, 8:16 pace,  12th master of 248.

And wow, the best part is I kept my place in Points Standing!!! Still 1st female master, 3rd female overall and 9th person!!

The Heavenly All-White Narcissus Mixture – John Scheepers

1 Oct

A few years ago I planted this mix and it’s been pretty good.  Thinking back about my moonlight gardens this summer combined with thinking forward to the spring, I just ordered 50 more bulbs of this mix for planting this fall.

From John Scheepers

White Narcissus Mix

White Narcissus Mix

Heavenly All-White Narcissus Mixture includes: Trumpet Daffodil Mount Hood, Large Cupped Narcissus Stainless, Double Narcissi Cheerfulness and White Medal, Triandrus Narcissi Petrel and Thalia, and Small Cupped Princess Zaide. It is divine. Bulb size: DNII. April/May. 16″ to 20″. HZ: 3-7.

Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day – Millennium Running 09.13.15

15 Sep

Northeast Delta Dental Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day 5k, Wild Rover, Manchester at 10:15. Kilts, Irish music, a Celtic festival with Guinness, Guinness blond, Angry Orchard, bagpipe band, food &  drink kiosks, head shave for charity, even a street boxing match put on by Bare Knuckle Murphy’s Boxing Gymnasium.  Video

This was the 12th race of 17 in the Millennium Points Chase.  Still hanging in there somehow!

Wild Rover

Wild Rover

Halfway to St Patricks Day, kilt too!

Halfway to St Patricks Day, kilt too!

Logistics were easy, temperature ideal, related events more fun than I expected.  Warming up we even saw the 911 Stairclimb at the Brady-Sullivan building with firefighters climbing 110 floors in full turnout gear/SCBA.   Hearing the bell, the American flag hanging from fire truck ladders and watching the firefighters go into the building was moving.

In 2005 when I last ran this race, there were only 233 runners compared to 1060 runners this year.

Millennium Running puts together incredibly high quality races with exceptional details and extras which STILL continue to impress me.

Pre-race, Jim and I warmed up in the downtown, checked out Wadleigh Starr where his wife was starting work the next day and I enjoyed running on familiar Manchester streets.   The Elm Street start heading north was visually striking and I felt light and quick during a few pre-race strides.   As usual, I tried to catch Greg Audet in the first mile, then Jim Monahan in the second mile, and then reel in anyone I could, particularly women who might be masters.   The final shot back down Chestnut Street was nostalgic as part of my old lunchtime route and I focused on the Bridge St traffic light, which didn’t seem to be getting closer.  The quick turn to Kosciuszko Street finish is super fun and I gave a strong finish line kick hearing my name being announced by WMUR sports director Jamie Staton.  I gathered up with friends and we checked our results at big screens.  YAY!!!  Surprisingly I was just 14 seconds per mile slower than 10 years ago and pleased being 4th of 206 F masters.  (Hey, in 2005 I placed 5th in AG)

Slightest drizzle was no deterrent and after we warmed-down to Verizon Center, the festivity was inviting.

Post race, Jim Monahan, Greg Audet (in kilt & Cinco half-zip) me looking wet

Post race, Jim Monahan, Greg Audet (in kilt & Cinco half-zip) me looking wet

Results link 2015   22:40, 7:18, 4th of 206 Female Masters

Old 2005 Cool-Running Results

2005 post-race. Photobombing Dave Audet, with Jimmy Fallon & Michelle LeBrun in background.

2005 post-race Photobombing Dave Audet, with Jimmy Fallon & Michelle LeBrun in background.

Still 1st master! 3rd female and moved up to 9th overall!

MILLENNIUM POINTS CHASE: Still 1st master! 3rd female and moved up to 9th overall!

New Hampshire 10 Miler, August 29, 2015 – Millennium Running

31 Aug

I feel very grateful my body kept together for this distance and challenging race.   I’ve backed off considerably, doing minimal training and all year, my knees seem to have a tracking and alignment problem, patellofemoral syndrome.  I came here just to enjoy the experience and get through.   Memories of the course from 2011 even glossed over one particularly steep part of the hills.  Up and down!   Congratulations to all the runners who ran Saturday.

Sweet scenery

Sweet scenery

As part of NH Grand Prix, the race was very competitive with serious top runners.

Race ad… boats on Lake Massabesic… great race shirt

I saw lots of friends at this race, plus John Mortimer, Jamie Staton, Andy Schachat and the Millennium crew delivered another outstanding event.   I appreciate and cherish every nuance and the opportunity to be a part.


Millennium Lead Vehicle

My legs felt pretty beat up and I was wobbly post-race.  Later in the day, I enjoyed my race pint glass and proudly slipped on my hard-earned new race shirt.

10 miler

Post race hydration while making dinner – which explains the tiny fleck of fresh parsley on the glass

I last ran this in 2011, 7:01 pace – 1:10.  Here’s a link to blog from last time I did this race.

Race results

Scored points for GSRT team

10th F master in NH Grand Prix 1:20:29; Age grade 1:11:37

Big goal?  Millennium Points Standings

NH X-C Festival, photos 8/22/15

28 Aug
NH X-C Festival, Start

NH X-C Festival, Start

NH-XC Festival, after

NH-XC Festival, after “boomerang” turn

NH X-C Festival, finish line in sight

NH X-C Festival, finish line in sight

NH XC Festival, Derryfield Park, August 22, 2015

25 Aug

I feel so fortunate I saw the course preview and pre-ran the course before tackling this race!!   Man, it is a tough one and so I’m thankful I knew what to expect!   Congratulations to all the runners who showed up “with some guts, because cross country is not for the weak of heart!!”  (excerpt from Millennium pre-race email)

This 5k course (2 miles for the HS races) runs the traditional Cross Country Course for NH High School state meets and it is challenging.  Ski lift = hills!

“Thowback” X-C singlet. We voted on design!

Arriving at 2:00 p.m., I watched the high school waves before my wave at 3:00.    It was a hoot to warm-up cheering for the students… then race my wave… then warm-down supporting the last wave.   It was cautionary, hearing the hard breathing on the uphill start, plus accentuated the focus and effort we all put in and the relief and ebullience when done.

This was my 10th Millennium race in 2015 and even in this venue, Millennium provided their fantastically outstanding details and race organization.  For a fun twist, we got to vote on the race shirts a few weeks ago!  They were a bright version of a throwback x-c singlet (first 400 5K registrants) and my choice won!   My women’s medium felt wonderful and dry to change into post-race!

Derryfield with Uncanoonuc Mountains.

Derryfield with Uncanoonuc Mountains. Start is at the very bottom

It’s a wide starting line and grass uphill start which “gets you gassed” (pre-race announcements from John Mortimer).   I made sure I did a little uphill in warm-up getting ready and got a “hi” from TV 9 sports director Jamie Staton announcing near the start.

The second mile is trail and a tough climb with loose rocks and I exchanged a hello with Gloucester All Terrain runner, Freddi Pare.   We emerged from the woods to McIntyre ski area at 1.5 miles and as I looked up, I had been chasing none other than 2011 World Mt Running Champion Kasie Enman who was preparing for her wave!!  Seeing her just ahead on the steepest part of the climb felt like a honor :)

McIntyre ski area

McIntyre ski lift. Ski lift = hills!

We “face a 95 foot climb over the next .4 to the top of Tower Hill at 1.9 miles,” then flew downhill, described as… “the last mile starts with a big drop, from the top of Tower Hill to the bottom of Reservoir Ave you lose 190 feet in 7/10ths of a mile.”  Kasie peeled off-course and kindly alerted me so I didn’t inadvertently follow.  I yelled back “thanks, you’re a superstar, Kasie!!!!”

I smiled about “running around the door” which stood out there at the corner of the field and mentally prepared for the grassy uphill again and around the tree before the final boomerang shot to the finish line!!   I crossed, hitting my watch and was immediately greeted by friends.   I grabbed a water and Millennium also offered Powerade, Portland Pie Pizza, Stonyfield Yogurt and fruit, but I instinctively headed to the results which are broadcast on 2 big screens.  Freddi and I were psyched to see we were 1st & 3rd female masters in our wave!!!! YAY!! We were very excited and thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment!

Finish line, NH XC Festival

Finish line, NH XC Festival

For warm down, I ran to my car a few times (d’oh, brains are mush post-race… talk to people… Freddi and I try to figure out if we’re supposed to wait for awards… put on dry singlet… ) and back to 3-4 spots on the course to cheer on the competitive wave, USATF-NE All Terrain Series/Cross Country Grand Prix.

Afterwards, the post race celebration was at Shaskeen on Elm Street to hang with friends.

Race Results are posted here.   24:24, 5th female in my wave of 263 runners!  Perry pointed out that he saw my name on the “leaderboard” … monumental!

Millennium Points Chase standings were updated last night and holy cow I moved up to 3rd female overall after this race!! I just hoped to hold on as 1st Female Master.  I got very lucky and I feel very appreciative and surprised, but won’t get used to it with 7 races remaining.

I read that from the proceeds of this NH X-C Festival, Millennium Running is underwriting the cost of the NHIAA High School Cross Country Championships in October and the State XC Banquet in December.

August in NH, tomatoes !

24 Aug
Varieties of tomatoes

3 interesting tomato varieties, picked a few minutes earlier

Fabulous types of tomatoes !  One is a fascinating black cherry color.  When I Googled varieties, it might be this:

“The only truly black cherry tomato…  vigorous tomato plants that yield abundant crops in huge clusters of 1″, round, deep purple, mahogany-brown cherry tomatoes. Fruits are irresistibly delicious with sweet, rich, complex, full tomato flavors that burst in your mouth, characteristic of the best flavorful black tomatoes.”

Plus, other tomato varieties like yellow mini type, supersweet 100 (below) and a sort of paste tomato like San Marzano.

Below photo is chopped garlic, sweet onion, zucchini, basil, curled parsley and FIVE types of tomatoes !  That’s my record for tomato varieties in one single recipe :)

NH Garden August

YUM! from NH gardens in August

Sunlight filtering – cobblestone arc in back

17 Aug

View from back living room window.  The cobblestone “arc” patio is 3 years old.  I wrote a blog post back when I created it.  The Pachysandra bed separates the lawn from the woods and the urn of white impatiens float/lift up from the Pachysandra “sweep.”  Sunlight filtered through the trees.

filtered sunlight, back yard

filtered sunlight, back yard


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