Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Some Cute Stories

Sunday, Gigi and I were driving around with the Little Guy in the back seat. He was back there, humming away, when he said, "Mommy! Mommy! I am singing with my mouth closed!" and then he hummed some more.

Gigi said, "You know what it's called when you sing with your mouth closed? It's called 'humming'". The Little Guy replied, "NO Mommy! I am NOT humming! I am NOT A BIRD!"

Last night I talked to him on the phone and I told him I loved him and for the first time ever he said, "I love you too, Mimi". So sweet!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Super Secret Knitting

I am working on a super secret knitting project. I worked on it while I hung out with the Little Guy on Friday. He asked if he could help me with my yarn, so I gave him some yarn and one knitting needle. He seemed to enjoying wrapping it around and around and around. He said his mommy would be so happy when she saw it.

I am using some Twinkle Soft Chunky from Classic Elite Yarns that I bought last weekend while in Milwaukee, en route to Chicago. Puppy was kind enough to pose for a photo.

This project is done on Size 13 needls with a bulky yarn, so needless to say, it's much more enjoyable than the cardigan I'd been working on, which has sort of been languishing. I'm not entirely sure I'll pick it up again. We'll see.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Triathlon Tuesdays

Yay! So, turns out trying to write every week about my triathlon prep is not very interesting. I ran. I swam. I ran some more.

Did I mention that the other week I rode the exercise bike at the gym for about 15 minutes? Oh my gosh, was that ever boring! That kind of made me decide that for the winter I will focus on running and swimming and wait until summer to hop on the bike again.

I had a good swimming lesson Saturday...with D. I've kind of given up on my actual swimming lessons. I'm still going, but I've given up that they will be useful.

So, Saturday D and I went to the pool and he gave me some tips on keeping my head down so my body stays horizontal and then we worked on flip turns. That was really fun. I know I won't do flip turns in the triathlon, but it still was fun to work on them. I'm going to head to the pool again tomorrow and work on some of the pointers he gave me.

Other than that, I've just been running and lifting weights. Good times!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What was I thinking?

I realized it is going to take me forever to knit the Ripple Cardigan. Why? Because it is an adult size sweater knit on size 3 needles. Whoever thought knitting such a thing would be a good idea? Oh wait...me! The brim for Matilda is also slow going as it is many, many rows of stockinette.

Basically, I've got two really boring projects on the needles right now. I might need to add something to spice things up a little.

Gigi told me how the Little Guy went to a birthday party yesterday and got a balloon, which then got loose and blew away. Poor Little Guy was so upset! His dad explained to him that the balloon would fly far, far away and another family would find it and take really good care of it. He wanted to ride his bike really really fast and go find his balloon. Awww....

David and I headed over to my mom's this afternoon, where the Little Guy was visiting with my brother, wife, and their four little ones. So, we stopped at the party store on the way and picked him up a green balloon with orange string...just like he had lost. We also got balloons for all the other kids.

The Little Guy seemed a little confused and asked me where I found it. I just told him, "in my neighborhood". I think he was pretty happy to have his balloon back.

Edit: I talked to Gigi last night on the phone and she said the Little Guy was very careful with his balloon last night. He wanted to make sure he didn't lose it. And then he said, "It flew all the way to Mimi's neighborhood!" I wonder if someday he'll question that. :-)

Have a good week everyone!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

whhhhoooo.....whhhhoooo

That's the sound I make when I try to whistle.

I'm more successful when I knit a Wee Willie Whistle Sweater.

I knit this from Lion Brand Cotton Ease, which has since been discontinued and replaced by Lion Brand Cotton Ease (new). I bought these skeins about five years ago, then it was discontinued, and now it's back. It's similar to Rowan All Seasons Cotton but cheaper. I'd say the Rowan is a little nicer to work with, but if I'm knitting a baby sweater that is going to be thrown up and drooled on, I'll go with the cheaper yarn.

I discovered as I finished this up yesterday that I really don't like attaching sleeves. The armpit area feels like a mangled mass of seams. I actually would not let myself go for a run yesterday until I had finished seaming this sweater. Yes, knitting was the "dreaded activity"; running was the reward.

I think this little sweater turned out quite nice. Now I just have to decide who to give it to. I have a thought in my head and his name begins with "E".

I cast on last night for the Ripple Cardigan and I also worked on the brim of the Matilda hat. A new project and finishing up a UFO. I feel my knitting mojo returning!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Blue Sweater

I thought for sure I would finish up the Wee Willie Whistle sweater yesterday since it was my day off. Unfortunately, I wound up spending half the day at work and since it was such a nice day I then went for a run. By the time I got back from my run, the sun was setting and I knew I wouldn't be able to get a good picture of the sweater even if I did finish it. So I didn't even try.

I am a knitting quitter.

Quitting is probably an exaggeration. I'm a knitting puter-offer.

Regardless, I did work on it and completed the shoulder seams and the neck. Now it's just side and sleeve seams. I dislike seaming so much that quite often I'll wind up doing one seam a night, which means it would take me four nights to sew up a baby sweater. I'll do my best to be a bit more speedy than that.

Anyhoo, here is the progress so far. Pretty cute, eh?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

She Is Trying To Kill Us!

About two minutes into my most recent swim lesson, I began to think that this whole triathlon idea was C-R-A-Z-Y! That swim instructor is trying to kill us, or at least make us hate water.

We started out with more kicking. When I got to the other end of the pool, she told me to kick faster. The rest of the class was lined up behind me like I was the jerk doing 55mph in the passing lane.

Then she made us swim six laps. SIX! SIX! BTW, a lap is once down the pool, 25 yards. We had to do two laps, 15 second rest, two laps, 15 second rest, 2 laps. I know someone out there is a swimmer and is thinking, "Whatever, Michelle. Get over it". But for me, who can barely swim one lap, this was as though someone told me to run a marathon after I've finished my first 5K.

I'd get to the far end of the pool, look back, and there she was, motioning with her arms and saying, "Come on. Come back!" At one point I actually said, "I don't want to".

By the end, I was so tired that I was flailing in the water, arms and legs akimbo, just praying I made it to the other side. This did not feel like a swim lesson, it felt like a swim practice! I don't want to be in the Olympics lady...I just want to learn how to breathe without pulling my entire head out of the water. Doing the entire half-mile swim of the triathlon doing breaststroke and backstroke is looking pretty good about now.

Fortunately, we spent the last half of "the lesson" learning to do flip turns, which for me meant doing lots of somersaults in the water. That part wasn't so bad.

Other than that, I spent last week avoiding the gym because I felt like I was getting a cold. I still feel like I am getting a cold, but I headed over there last night anyway. It's always crowded there on Monday....all those students must be trying to work off all those weekend beer calories.

Knitting update coming Thursday!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Knitting! It's Happening Again!

I can tell the weather is getting colder because I have been spending time in earnest searching Ravelry for patterns that can be made with what I have in my stash, making plans for what to knit next, and actually spending a good deal of time knitting.

I am on to the sleeves of the Wee Willie Whistle sweater. Ya know what that means? It's almost done!

I've been actually spending time on Ravelry lately and noticed that the Interweave Knits holiday issue was out. I checked it out and immediately saw the Ripple Cardigan and thought, "Finally! Something that I can knit with the TEN skeins of mohair I have!" Maybe not all ten skeins, but I'll take what I can get.

While I was at Barnes and Noble, I spotted Debbie Bliss knitting magazine. I had no idea she had a magazine. I picked up a copy because there are some nice tweedy sweaters that I think I might be able to use some of my tweedy yarn from Ireland to make. Pretty sure I don't have enough for any of the patterns, but I'll see what I can do.

I've got some other ideas up my sleeve as well. Not sure where I will start, but I'm happy to be back in the knitting swing of things.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Triathlon Tuesday

Another update in my quest to complete a triathlon in August!

Sunday I had my first swimming lesson. I mentioned in my last update that I can swim a half-mile doing the breaststroke. Judging by the look on David's face, this is not impressive AT ALL. The look said, "a two-year old could do that blindfolded and with his arms tied together." Although I am still proud of this, I know that I'll need to be able to swim a half-mile doing the front crawl, hence the swimming lessons.

There are eight adults in the class, and everyone was very friendly. Nothing like having strangers witness you flailing through the water to bring you closer together. The first thing the instructor had us do was just kick, with the kickboard, for 100 yards.

Boy oh boy, am I not a good kicker. I barely moved. Apparently I am kicking all wrong. Even when I tried to kick correctly, I still barely moved. Very humbling.

Then we worked on the front crawl and the back stroke for a bit. At one point I looked over at some people in a few lanes, swimming very well and very fast. Wow. "I wish I looked like that," I told the guy next to me. Turns out those weren't people in the lanes next to us...they were LITTLE KIDS. Little kids that were kicking my board all over the pool. Very humbling.

I've got some practicing to do.

On Saturday, David, Kym, Kyle and all shuffled through the Gray Ghost 5K in Anoka. We were dressed as zombies so I can't really say we ran or even jogged. Kym and I were zombie cheerleaders, Kyle was a zombie football player, and David was Shaun from Shaun of the Dead. We had a great time!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Remember When?

Way back when I started my blog, I took a survey to help me decide which of many UFO's I should finish up.

The choices were a mitten, dragon hoodie, yellow sweater, Wee Wilie Whistle sweater, and an intarsia square. The mitten won...I promptly finished it...and forgot all about the other items.

Now they are making a comeback! Even thought the Wee Willie Whistle sweater was not a winner, I have started on it again. Ripped out what I had and now have the back complete (again) and have started the front. I think now that I have started, this will be a quick knit.

I'm not sure how the progress will go on the other items. Since I'm trying to use up stash yarn, I think finishing some of these projects makes sense. On the other hand, there is a lot of other yarn in my stash as well..in addition to a few new UFO's. Some things never change in knitting.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Triathlon Tuesdays

As most of you know, this past August David and some of his friends did a triathlon as a team. Being there and seeing all those people left me feeling a bit inspired and I thought, "I could do that". I have decided that next summer, I would like to do the same triathlon, the whole thing, myself.

I have not officially committed to it...haven't paid a registration fee or anything, but I've told enough people about it that I'm as good as paid. Besides, it seems more realistic than the other crazy goal I had about the same time which was climbing Mt. Rainier.

I've decided that I will devote my blog on Tuesdays to updates on getting ready (I'm not at a point yet where I feel like I can say I am "training") and other miscellaneous information.

The triathlon I will be doing is a sprint distance. It will be a 1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike, and a 5K.

Where am I at?

Swimming: I can swim a 1/2 mile...doing the breaststroke, which is not the speediest way to get through the water. I start swimming lessons on Sunday to help me with getting better at doing the crawl. Wish me luck!

Biking: I can bike 12 miles. How fast I can do it is another story. My average pace this summer was usually between 10 and 12 mph. I'll be working on bumping that up.

Running: I run about an 11 minute mile and can keep that up for a 3 miles, more or less. However, that is from a fresh start. Not after swimming and biking. I'll need to work on my speed there too.

So, the good news is, I know I can do each individual piece of the tri in some way. I've got about 10 months to work on my speed and my swimming. Check back next week for more updates!

Monday, October 26, 2009

What Season Is It Anyway?

This weekend David and I headed to Chippewa Falls for Fall Cabin Weekend. On the way there it felt more like Winter Cabin Weekend. The snow was falling thick and heavy as we entered Wisconsin, the fields of cows were covered with the fluffy white stuff, and soon we fell into that quiet sort of driving where the driver is concentrating and the passenger is trying to be as little of a distraction as possible.

We did make it though and had a lovely time. Saturday morning was blustery and a little damp, but the weather was fine for football and walks. The fireplace had a warm glow all weekend. And when the nine children under the age of seven that were there all took their naps at the same time, a peacefulness came over the cabin. Rest and relaxation. Perfect.

I also finished up these little hat's for David's twin nephews. This is the only lousy picture I have of these! Before I got a chance to take another we had wrapped them up and were off to the baptism.
David and I did this back in April or May. He knit one hat (blue) and I knit the other (green). I then made the squiggles for the tops. Then they sat, scrunched up in a bag, until October. I added the squiggles to one hat, all the while cursing. All I could think was that I had had it with the squiggly topper. I've watched a video a couple times on how to combine them into one big pom and still found it fiddley and fuddly and a pain in the knitting needle. I set the other hat aside until later. Then I hid in my room and tried a different method for combining and attaching, and voila! It was done in about 10 minutes, completely painless, and I think I may make more of these (when more babies are born)! Isn't it nice when you figure something out that's been bugging you?

About two weeks ago I got an e-mail from someone on Ravelry asking me how much I wanted for the Tahki Donegal Tweed in gray that I had in my stash, leftover from my dad's sweater. I just told her she could have it. I believe in yarn karma and I doubt I'll use it. So I told her I would just pop it in the mail (to France!) and she sent me the nicest message on Friday. Here is a snippet:

"I frequently feel unsure and anxious about the future of the planet/humankind, but these random gestures of kindness among strangers and distant people make me feel less fearful about tomorrow."

It makes me feel so good and I agree with her. If only we all could practice a random gesture of kindness once in awhile, imagine what could happen.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

"Say Cheese, Tunnel Bean!"


This weekend I went with my mom, sister, and the Little Guy to Chicago. I did take some knitting with me, but didn't get much done. I know...there are a lot of people out there who somehow manage to get lots of knitting done in the presence of a three-year old, but I am not one of those people.

We visited with family while there, visited the DuPage County Children's Museum, and took a train ride downtown to Navy Pier and then over to Millennium Park to see "Cloud Gate", known to most people as the Bean. We told the Little Guy we were going to see a great big jelly bean, and I was a little worried he'd be disappointed that it wasn't a big yellow or purple or red bean.

I need not have worried. He went nuts for the bean. As soon as he saw it, he shouted, "It's a tunnel bean!" and wanted to go under the bean. He ran in circles, hopped around on his little legs, shouting and laughing the entire time. Pretty cute.

Then he wanted to take pictures. Lots of pictures. He would stand and point the camera at the bean and yell, "Say cheese, tunnel bean!"

The knitting I attempted to get started on the way was the gray sweater shown here from Rebecca. I've got more of the mohair than is necessary, but the yarn for the little nubs are a problem. It's ggh Stars, and the color is anthracite. I got it in white, which looked weird. Then I got something similar in black, which looks just as weird. Of the tens of thousands of people on Ravelry, only 21 have ggh Stars in their stash, and only two have the color I need, and they both seem to be using it. This project may be on hold until I can find another substitute. Now that I've gotten started, I really want to make this sweater!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Snow and A Sweater

At long last, here is Flair. And a bit earlier than I would have liked, the first snowfall of the 2009-2010 winter season.

That would be the Little Guy in the background shoveling his swing set.

Pattern: Flair, from Knit and Tonic. I found the pattern on Ravelry.
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted, Garnet
Size: Small
Needles: Size 6 circs from my grandma's interchangeable Boye set for the body (I'm sure they are older than I am), Size 6 DPNs bamboo for the sleeves
Started in July 2009, Finished October 2009. I am slow.
Buttons are from the Yarnery.

What I liked: I love the Malabrigo. It's wool, but it is so nice and soft I can have it against my skin. This sweater is a raglan, top-down which I love, love, love. No seams! The sleeves are done in the round, so no seams there either. It's an easy, cute pattern. I'd recommend it if you need something easy to work on, or are working on a first sweater.

What I don't like: Well, I messed up the spacing on the buttons. And I had a little mix-up on the button bands with my seed-stitch, which makes it uneven in one tiny little place. All things that no one would notice unless they looked really close, and that would be inappropriate (while it is being worn anyway). I wish I had made it a little longer and maybe a size bigger. I feel like with the length, it flairs out a little too much in the back.

What I changed, by accident: Well, since my gauge was off, I made the size small. As a result, it is too small to be a double-breasted sweater as the pattern calls for. I'm okay with that. I also made the sleeves shorter than the pattern calls for and I like them this way.

My sister wore this to work on Friday and got a lot of compliments on it. I haven't blocked it yet, and I may not bother. It might help straighten the button bands though. Here is a front view.

One last picture from my weekend, taken while waiting for our pizza at Davanni's!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Go Twins!!

I just got off the phone with my sister and she told me to update my blog. Problem is, there isn't much to update. I'll give it a try though.

I finished the knitting on Flair last week. It is amazing to have an almost finished object. Saturday afternoon D was kind enough to take me button shopping. We went to the Yarnery, where I laid the sweater out on the floor and set different buttons on top. The buttons I really liked were $2.75 each, which seemed a bit extravagant to me, so I settled on some square, ivory colored buttons that were only $1 each. I think I'll sew them on today, then block the sweater.

With the money I saved on buttons, I bought Made in Brooklyn. Such lovely patterns, such lovely photos. The woman who rang up my purchases asked me if I read his blog, and I said yes and commented on how I love the pictures. She then informed me he is a photographer. I had no idea. That explains a lot.

Button buying was just one part of a very busy weekend. Friday night D and I headed to the Guthrie to see The Importance of Being Earnest, a play I have seen before and could see many times again. Oscar Wilde was a genius. We made a night of it and stayed at the aloft hotel right by the Guthrie. It's a hip little hotel with a tiny swimming pool. At first I thought we should have brought our suits and swum laps but that would have been difficult. Instead, I settled for a lychee martini at the bar while we checked in on the Twins game.

Sunday we trekked down to the course for the Twin Cities Marathon to cheer on our friends. We saw Michael run by at mile three of the TC Ten Mile. The same spot was mile 19 for the marathon. We missed seeing Kyle and Kym, but it was so amazing to see all those people go by who had been running for 19 miles so far. Across the street, there was a woman who kept yelling, "Welcome to St. Paul!" even though St. Paul was still a couple miles away. She obviously needed a geography lesson.

And then it was off to the "last" Twins game in the Metrodome, which we all now know was not the last game. We had a great time! An exciting game, a great post-game farewell to the Dome presentation, lots of people. The only downside was that they ran out of scorecards. After waiting in line for 20 minutes to get one, there was some...un-sportsmanlike language on my part. I was then annoyed when two seats down from me was a couple that between them had three scorecards, and they didn't even have them open! They weren't even filling them out! Did they even know what they were for?

Now there will be at least one more Twins fame at the Dome! Go Twins! What an amazing last month they have had!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I Say It's My Birthday,,,

It's My Sister's Birthday Too!

That's what happens when you have a twin. Many years ago, my sister and I grew tired of duking it out in the womb for room. She shoved me aside and emerged into the world and before she could warn me that it was cold and bright and loud out there, I followed her.

And now we celebrate.

First stop for birthday celebration was Psycho Suzi's on Friday night, where some friends joined me and David for large drinks and little pickles wrapped in cream cheese and ham.

That's me with my very large, flaming drink. At first it seemed awfully strong, but I got used to it. As a birthday present, the Tiki gods smiled on me and allowed me to wake up the next morning hangover free. Yay!

Saturday we headed to the 'burbs where my Dad and Kathy took us to a Japanese steakhouse, where we were serenaded while wearing this odd mask.

That was fun.

Here's all of us, full of steak and shrimp and salmon and lots of fried rice.

It was fun evening, and capped off with something only my sister and I would enjoy (trust me, her husband was less than excited about it). A trip to Target! A chance to roam around, just the two of us. It doesn't happen much anymore. We were pretty excited. Yup...doesn't take much to make us happy.

Happy Birthday, Sis! I'm so glad to be able to go through life you with you! Thanks for being the brave one all those years ago and deciding to see what life was like on the outside. :-)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Biking, Biking, Biking

There hasn't been too much knitting or blogging going on around here lately. There has been a lot of biking, so I'll update you all a bit about that. I know my brother and sister-in-law are into biking, so this post is sort of for them.

Labor Day, David and I and our friend Kym headed southeast-ish along the river towards St. Paul, crossed the river, and then headed back towards home on the other side.

It was a beautiful day for a ride and we were lucky enough to see this bald eagle enjoying the day as much as we were.

I think we biked about 30 miles that day. The day was capped off with lunch at the Longfellow Grill in Minneapolis. I should have taken a picture of the area around the Grill. It is right along the bike trail along East River Road and gets a lot of bicyclists stopping for drinks and food. It was crazy how many bikes there were!

The next week, September 13th, we rode in the St. Paul Bike Classic with Kym and Michael.

The St. Paul Bike Classic is so much fun. We did the 30 mile route. There is live music and amazing food at all the rest stops. I ate so more fresh fruit than I usually do and the cookies were amazing!

We also took a side trip down to Crosby Farms Park where there were park rangers along the river with information about bugs and flood plains and other stuff like that. It was quite lovely.

In non-biking related news, we went to the Minneapolis Oktoberfest this Saturday and met Kym and Kyle. There was much beer drinking from a boot.

Sunday the 20th, David and I did the Minneapolis Bike Tour. Not as cool as the St. Paul Bike Classic. No live bands, the food was so-so, when it existed, and it started with a huge hill that made me cranky from the get go.

Then we got to the end, and there were cheerleaders!

And beer!
And Chicago dogs!

And this.

We did 42 miles total yesterday. It was six miles from David's place to the start of the tour. The tour was 37 miles. Since we didn't want to have a 50 mile day, we skipped the southern part of the tour, headed east across the Midtown Greenway from Lake of the Isles and then hooked up with the tour along the river. This worked out great! We got to the Midtown Bike shop right when they opened at 9 a.m. so I finally got some coffee and a pastry. Mmmm...

So, that is what I have been up to. I do intend to knit again...soon. Really.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New Uses for Knitting Books

Did you know, that in a pinch, a knitting pattern book can serve as a bedtime story? When Gigi and the Little Guy spent the night Saturday, he was not interested in the book Gig brought, so I searched on my shelves and could only come up with this.

Turns out, the Little Guy enjoyed looking at the pictures of little kids and animals...

counting birds...
and the truck blanket was a hit.

And here is where I am with Flair. I got to this point last week and just have not been able to get any further. Hopefully over the weekend I can get some sleeves on this thing.

State Fair, Take 2

Can it really be that I have not updated my blog since August? Why yes! It can. It's been a crazy last few days of summer around here: multiple trips to the State Fair, more biking and swimming, gearing up for the always crazy first day of classes at the fourth largest university in the nation (well, last year anyway), thinking about knitting.

Sunday, Gigi, David, the Little Guy and I headed to the State Fair. We were there about 7 a.m., which is a great time to go to the fair. There are hardly any people there, and there is breakfast to be had!
We passed by the Giant Slide on the way to Machinery Hill.

This is one of my favorite things at the Fair and Gigi and I went down while the Little Guy waited with David. As soon as we got off, the Little Guy ran up and wanted to go down the slide. He decided he wanted to go with me so we climbed the stairs and he was so excited all the way up. I thought for sure when we got up there he would change his mind, but nope...I held on tight and down the slide we went. Wheee!

Well, not so much for the Little Guy. He ran right to Gigi to be picked up and told her, "Mommy...when I was on the slide I wanted to be with you". I felt so bad for him. Gigi and David both said the look on his face was one of, "maybe this wasn't a good idea".

Fortunately, machinery hill cheered him right up! He loved all the tractors

and pretending David was a cow.

Then it was off to the Little Farm Hands, which is about the cutest thing there. Well, other than the Little Guy.
And to end the day, some spin painting!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Exhausted

I am utterly exhausted after this weekend. It was all about food and fitness. The fitness was needed to counteract the food.

For those of you who only read my blog for the knitting content, I will tell you that I finished the body of Flair last night. Now it's just sleeves, collar, and buttoning. By the time I finished, it was too dark to take a photo without the flash, so I don't have a visual to share. Soon though, I promise.

Now that that is out of the way, you don't need to read about my other adventures unless you are interested. Well, you may want to continue to see some sheep pictures.

Saturday morning, David and I biked up to St. Thomas where we met Kym and Kyle bright and early for a run. We ran about 2.5 miles with them, and then the two of them continued on (they are training for the Twin Cities Marathon) while David and I hopped back on our bikes and to the Mill City Farmer's Market. We had breakfast there (goat cheese omelets with cucumber and some other stuff...sorry, I was starving. I didn't pay too much attention). We also bought cherry tomatoes, cucumber, garlic sourdough bread, lettuce, some amazing blue cheese, and a tiny blueberry pie. Then we had the Indian Spiced Mini-Donuts from the Chef Shack before we got on the bikes and headed back down to St. Paul.

We made a stop at Lock and Dam Number 1. They have a great public exhibit there and we saw two boats for through the lock. I'd like to take my dad there. I think he'd like it, being an engineer and all. We putzed around there for about 45 minutes, shivering quite a bit of the time. It was very cool on Saturday...my hands actually got numb the first part of the morning.

Leaving Lock and Dam Number 1, we had to go up a very steep hill that nearly killed me. David reported he was "a little worried" about how heavy I was breathing. The only way to really recover from such a thing was to head over to Minnehaha Park and have lunch at Sea Salt...beer and fish tacos.

Finally, we made it back home. 15 miles on the bike, 2.5 miles running, and all that activity before 1:00 in the afternoon.

It was time for a nap.

We enjoyed our Farmer's Market purchases for dinner. I did some knitting. I was in bed by 8:45. Still exhausted.

Of course that meant I was up nice and early to make some eggs with tomato and blue cheese, enjoy my coffee, read the paper, and then bike over to the St. Paul gym (U of M) to swim for the first time in 20 years.

Swimming is very hard.

After swimming, we went to the State Fair. A celebration of food! At least, that is the way I feel about it.

Of course, there are also sheep there, and lots of them.

A few other highligts:

Wine tasting in the Horticulture Building

Listening to our fearless leader, Robert Bruininks, discuss the importance of higher education outside the U of M building

Buying Spam

Caprese Salad on a Stick

Playing around in the farm implements

We also had corndogs, Luigi Fries (breadstick with cheese and marinara), cinnamon roll, corn dog, walleye cakes, and Polish sausage with pepper and onions. See...all the exercise was needed.

After a trip down the Giant Slide, we got on our bikes again and headed back home. I'm sure I'll be in bed in the next 12 minutes.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ah...The Smell of Wet Wool

My mom took the day off today and since it was my usual day off, I headed to the 'burbs to dye yarn with her. She had purchased some dye and cheap yarn and considered this a "test" run for when she gets the yarn from the yarn crop share she is a part of.

The yarn soaked in her very deep sink for part of the morning. Looks like noodles.

It was then was added to the dye on the stove top. The color is cantaloupe. After simmering for about 30 minutes, the yarn was ready to be rinsed and hung up to dry.
At this point, the house was filled with the smell of wet wool. Delightful. I'm not really sure if that should be read with a slightly sarcastic tone or not...I don't think wet wool smells great, but there is something sort of comforting about it.
The only complaint I have about this process is that the instructions say to constantly stir the yarn in the pot, so that the color distributes evenly. Granted, we stirred gently, but I think we all know what happens when you combine wool, hot water, and agitation.
Yeah.
The felting is not bad, but it's a little like that pull-n-peel licorice you can get. Fortunately, there weren't any plans to knit an heirloom blanket from this yarn, so some roughness will be okay.

Mostly, it was just really nice to spend the day with my mom. I haven't seen her in a few weeks, and it was nice to see her at the busstop, a mug full of coffee for me, a smile on her face. She kindly took me to a few stores to run some errands as well as out to lunch. We had a wonderful day!

Monday, August 24, 2009

(the post immediately below shows the map of our bike ride...if you are feeling so inclined, you could open it in another browser window and follow along as I describe our day)

A Monday off in August is a wonderful thing. My office is crazy this time of year, even more so on Monday, so if I can avoid just a little of the crazy, I'm happy. David and I had originally intended to go camping this weekend, but the triathlon got in the way of that plan. Instead, we decided to go for a bike ride around The Cities (as Mpls/St. Paul are affectionately known in these parts).

David was at his place, so he got an extra four miles of biking in in order to meet me at the synagogue about a 1/2 mile from my place. From there, we zipped down Mississippi River Blvd, across the river, and then up Minnehaha Parkway to Mel-o-Glaze Bakery donuts for some coffee and carbs.

My donut was a bit too much - glazed, then glazed again with chocolate. A bit too sweet, but the coffee helped. We enjoyed our treats before we hopped back on our bikes and followed the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway (we were actually on this most of the day). We zipped past Lake Nokomis without stopping, and then followed Minnehaha Creek over to Lake Harriet. Along the way, we passed some trees that had been felled by the storm we had last Wednesday.

When we got to Lake Harriet, we searched for a geocache near the bandshell. I was just about to give up (because I am always just about to give up), when we found the secret location.

Feeling quite pleased with ourselves, we headed over to Lake Calhoun.

We ate lunch at the Tin Fish, well known in these parts for their fish taco. For $4.95 I got a grilled tilapia taco that was more than enough food. It was quite spicy, by MN standards, which meant it was just right by me. It was amazing.

They also have the best lemonade around - not too sweet, perfectly tart. After enjoying our meals, and being quite full, we enjoyed the view and then made our way over to Lake of the Isles for a quick spin around the lake.

And there was a MONSTER!

Quite frightening.

From there we headed across town on the Midtown Greenway. When we were closer to Uptown, we passed many beautiful flower gardens along the way.

We also stopped at the bike shop located on the Greenway for ice cream and so David could get the brakes fixed on his bike.

Along the way. we kept seeing these bronzed shoes on benches. There were questions above them such as "When will we go dancing?" I'm not sure what these mean. There is a little information here.

At this point, we were back to the river! We rode northwest, past the new Guthrie, under the new 35W bridge,

across the river again, and all the way to Boom Island, where David was stung by a bee.

We took the time for a little photo.

We crossed over the Stone Arch Bridge (3rd time across the river!), rode towards the U of M, across the river again to campus, and then back along the U of M transitway to David's place.

All in all, 31.23 miles for me, 35 for David. At about mile 27 my body started to question what I was doing to it.

We celebrated with some amazing pizza from Crescent Moon.

All in all, it was a wonderful day!