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!

Monday Bike Ride


View Michelle's Bike Ride in a larger map

Pictures and details of our ride coming soon!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Tri Cowboys Finish Third!

Today was the big day we've been waiting for all summer! No, nobody got married or had a baby. David and some friends competed as a team in the St. Paul Triathlon at Lake Phalen. You may remember that Gigi and I did a 5K there in May. Fortunately, the weather was much better today. Sunny, warm, a slight breeze. Overall, a great day for a team of three guys to try to beat their solo triathlete friend!

David was part of a team called the Tri Cowboys. David swam a 1/2 mile, Michael biked 12 miles, and Owen ran the 5K. The goal: beat Kyle. Even Kyle's mom wore a Tri Cowboy t-shirt, although I can say she was cheering for Kyle.

The guys did great, finishing in 1:19. Kyle finished in 1:25. There was also a third team made up of Alan, Max, and Kevin finishing in about 1:30something. The amazing thing is, all three teams had arm problems this summer. Both Kyle and David broke their arms this summer, and Max got a staph infection in his elbow (beware the mats at the gym!).

I should also add that Team Tri Cowboys lost a combined 70 pounds while training!

David and Alan are somewhere in this mass of people.

Afterward we all went to the Longfellow Grill and toasted Kyle. Without his trash-talk, none of the guys would have been there, except maybe Kyle.

Beer and Bloody Marys at 11 a.m. is a good way to start the day!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Just a Few More Weeks

Five years ago, when I renewed my driver's license, I was prepared. I went early in the day, immediately after I had showered, styled my hair, and put on makeup (even lipstick!). I carefully chose my clothes. I kept the AC in the car on so my hair would not get messed up. I smiled pretty for the camera. The upshot of all this was a driver's license photo that everyone looked at and said, "Wow! That's a really nice picture of you".

Well, I got the renewal notice about a month ago, and I've been putting it off because I wanted another nice photo. I need a haircut and who knows when that will happen. Never mind that this photo looks nothing like me anymore or that the expiration is fast approaching. I was going to wait until my hair looked good!

This morning, David and I went to County Bike to get his packet of stuff for the triathlon tomorrow, and wouldn't you know...the DMV was right across the street. There I was: no shower, no makeup, wearing my glasses, t-shirt I was wearing for the third time this week. And I just said, "Let's go over there. Might as well get this done". "Are you sure? We can come back," David said. Nope. Gonna do it now.

So, I'll have a bad photo like everyone else: stringy hair, shiny skin, silly smile on my face. Fantastic. At least I've got another month of the cute photo.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It's Looking Like A Sweater

Behold, the progress so far on Flair! This is not the most flattering photo of me without a head, but you get the general idea of the sweater. I will be buttoning it in the center, as demonstrated with safety pins here.

I had a great weekend! Gigi and the Little Guy came over Saturday morning. He wanted to ride the bus and the train. He was so cute waiting for the bus. He brought along his tools in his backpack in case the bus broke down. When we saw the bus approaching, he started to wiggle with excitement. He thought the bus was too bumpy and the train loud when it went through the tunnel, but I think he enjoyed the ride overall.

Later that night we all played Wash and Dry Bingo. Oh my gosh, the Little Guy was just so incredibly cute! I'll be sending video to family members soon. Gigi would pull out the "stripey tights" and the Little Guy would yell, "I'VE GOT THE STRIPEY TIGHTS! I HAVE THEM! I HAVE THEM!" Same with the underwear, the pink dress, the ski hat, etc. By the fourth or fifth time we played, he was so excited he was jumping around and kicking his legs.

Sunday the Little Guy went to his first baseball game, a St. Paul Saint's game. He did not seem impressed. I don't think he even made it through the first inning. He seemed to like his pizza though.

So, that was most of my weekend. Lots of the Little Guy. :-)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Week So Far

I've been remiss in not writing about Summer Cabin Weekend 2009! A great time was had by all! The weekend included all the ingredients for a great cabin weekend: Farkle, naps, beer, summer sausage, eggs, reading, knitting, kayaking, running, biking, and rain. I know...I know...maybe most people wouldn't include rain, but I think it takes off the pressure to be outside for a bit and allows guilt-free knitting and reading.

Thanks Andy and Lindsey for opening up your cabin to us! We had a great time.

The rest of the week has been, ya know, a week in August. It's been hot and sticky. I tried on what I have of Flair so far and realized mine will not be a double-breasted cardigan. I went a size down because my gauge was off, but now there is no way that thing is fitting over my chest. It will button up the middle like a regular cardigan. It still looks nice though, and I'm loving the Malabrigo I am using. So soft. So pretty. Yum.

I cleaned out my refrigerator yesterday and discovered I have blackberry preserves and quite a bit of beer.

I've been reading a book called "The Evolution of God" by Robert Wright. Why am I reading this? I have NO idea. One day, I got a notice from the library that the book I put on hold was in. Based on the title, I had a vague memory of putting the book on hold, so I went to pick it up. It's huge. Like 500 pages huge. I have a slight memory of seeing the book referenced in a article I read (maybe in Mental Floss?) and must have decided that I'd like to know more about what this guy had to say. I am slowly working my way through it. I tend to read pretty fast, but this book is pretty dense, so I'm trying to take is slow to avoid re-reading too much. I hate when I get to the end of a paragraph and realize I have no idea what I just read.

I've become totally addicted to "Radio Lab", a show from WNYC. David and I both listen to this on our iPods. I actually listen to this while out running. We call it the science version of "This American Life". I can't get enough. I haven't read this yet, but I am going to.

I've completely given up on trying to listen to knitting podcasts.

And that has been my week so far.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Horrible, Awful, Not Very Good Day

I know there is a book out there with that title, or something similar. I just didn't think it would ever apply to me. Why, just the other day I filled in one of those ubiquitous Facebook questionnaires and when it asked me if the glass was half-full or half-empty, I enthusiastically responded, "It's full!" None of that half-way for me.

Well, yesterday made me doubt this, although as the shock wears off, I'm leaning towards a full-glass again...preferably filled with vodka.

What on earth caused such consternation on my part? I backed in to a woman's car in a parking lot. I know...big deal right? Sure, if you are in your own car and have your own precious cargo inside. For me, it was Gigi's car and the Little Guy, and the anxiety the event caused made me wish I took valium or something on a regular basis.

Yesterday was supposed to be a fun day. I spent all day with the Little Guy What could be more fun? We should have romped out in the sunshine, laughed and played, all day long. The day got off to an iffy start. The Little Guy wanted to go to the library, but we didn't have Gigi's library card. Then he wanted to go to a toy store, but that wasn't open yet. Then for some inexplicable reason he wanted to go to Marshall's. They weren't open either. I felt like we spent a lot of time driving around. And playing trains, but that part was fun.

I think if it weren't for the car incident, it would have been a much better day. The Little Guy alternated between moments of nearly unbearable cuteness (watching him run down the hall at Gigi's work, the way he said "WOW!" so genuinely when he saw something cool) to the usual three-year old whining ("I want mommy. I want mommy noooooowwwww"). He told me several times, "Mimi, do not buy me any toys today," and then wanted to pick out a special treat for Mommy, which of course, was a truck.

But the best was this moment, a little conversation that brightened my day.
Me: (clenching fist against head) Ugh! I am such a moron!
Little Guy: Mimi, what's wrong?
Me: I was just thinking about when I bumped into that lady with the car, and I feel so stupid. I'm just really upset about it.
Little Guy: That's okay, Mimi. You can tell David about it in the morning.
Me: (Smiling) Yeah, maybe he can make me feel better.
Little Guy: Yes, maybe David will make you feel better. I think he will.

What a sweetie!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Weekend

My grandpa was in town for the weekend which meant there was much playing of Hand and Foot, eating of apple pie that he baked (SO GOOD!), and general good family times.

The Little Guy and I went "mountain biking".

If you've never played Hand and Foot, you should learn how. It requires 4 or 5 decks of cards. My grandpa has made these helpful card holders specifically for Hand and Foot. I think everyone in our family has one of these.

The rest of the weekend has been suitably lazy. I've finished the raglan shaping on Flair and am ready to put the sleeve stitches on waste yarn and continue with the body. I did realize one big mistake. You are actually supposed to do buttonholes on each edge. I completely missed that while reading the directions. I got to three buttonholes and THEN saw the directions about button holes on each edge. Why the heck do I need button holes on each edge? Then I remember it is double breasted, so...yeah, that makes sense. I think I will add snaps or hook and eye closures on the inside instead.

Tomorrow - back to work. Boo!