Showing posts from 2012

It was a rainy day in Florence....

I had an espresso yesterday about 3:00, so as you can imagine, I had trouble sleeping last night. David and I did manage got get up relatively early and after a breakfast of prosciutto, bread, yogurt, and apple we did some reconnaissance to figure out where we will catch the bus to Siena tomorrow. Thank goodness we did because it was a little harder to find than I expected and I would not have wanted to try and and do that with my backpack.

Of course, it was my cute outfit had to stay behind. Also, the streets were filled with guys trying to see umbrellas. There is always someone trying to sell you something. Why doesn't that happen back home? We just don't have that as part of our culture. Sure, there are the kiosk people at the mall, and the clipboard people, and homeless guys at every intersection, but there is not as much annoying sales back home. You know...the people who come up to you in a restaurant and try to sell you a watch.

Well, anyway... We had a bu…

There is a blogger app!

And now I am trying it.

This is another photo from the restroom. What's her face from Canada just really likes people to know where she has been.

Not sure how to get the photos in here.

Look! A carousel!

After a good night's sleep

So, I gotta say...I just spent a lot of time crafting a particularly witty blog post, and blogger saw fit to have some sort of crazy error and it was all gone.
The other problem with using the iPad for updating the blog is that I can't actually scroll all the way up and down the page. So, all those photos at the bottom of this? I have no clue what order they are in or which ones are actually there. So, uh....sorry about that. Hopefully you can figure out what they are. 
So, David and I tried mighty hard to stay up until 9 pm last night, but we just could not do it. We finally gave up at 6 pm consoling ourselves with the fact that we had been up for over 24 hours and surely we would sleep at least 12 hours.
We both woke up around midnight, and golly, I felt really really awake. So, we took some Advil PM. I figured we get at least 6 more hours out of that.
And 10 hours later....
Our first stop of the day was the Accademia, where you can see the David, and quite honestly, not a whole lot …

Italy Day 1

There is a point, right before any trip starts, when you realize that you are about to spend 14 hours traveling and will not be able to really sleep in a bed again for over 24 hours. At that moment a sense of dread kicks in.

This was not that moment.

Before every trip, David and I hit Surdyk's Flights at the airport. We each had a wine flight and a sandwich, and wrapped it up with a very lemony lemon bar. Eventually, we had to head to our gate, which is when that feeling of dread kicked in.

That, and I have a question: if federal regulations allow only one carry on and one personal item, why don't the airlines enforce it?

Flights in short - I still think Schilpol Airport in Amsterdam is awful (and we have to go through there in the way back), lots of crying babies, could not sleep.

But, here we are in Italy! I've already facetimed with my sister twice (ain't technology grand?), we have been to the grocery store, and visited a little market near the Santa Maria Novella…

Paul Bunyan

So, David and I are headed to Italy this week! This post is really a test post to see how easy/difficult/annoying it will be to update my blog using the iPad. So far, so good.

If I don't need to bring my little computer with me, it would just be easier to leave it at home. One less thing to carry.

You might be asking yourself, what is with all the pictures of Paul Bunyan. Just practicing adding pics using the iPad.

Today we did a test pack, where we got everything together just to check things out. Seems like we did pretty good. Well, I think this will work. It is a little annoying, but I think I'll survive. La la. La.

My Race Story

A couple people have asked me to tell them my "race story" about completing my first half-marathon, which I successfully completed yesterday. In truth, I don't have much of a race story. I ran...I kept running...I ran some more...then I kept running even more. I don't really have any crazy stories to tell, but I'll try to make it as exciting as possible. Disclaimer: re-reading this now, I realize I have failed in this regard.

I did see a couple people throw up. That's exciting, right?

Okay, so...back to my story. It was cold Saturday morning. Brrrrr. Before the race I snuggled up to the engine of an idling semi-truck along with some other runners. Once I was in the crowd of about 10,000 waiting for the race to start, I felt okay. I lined up with the 2:20 pace group...that's a 10:41 minute per mile pace. This seemed pretty reasonable and I felt would get me to the finish line in under 2:30, which was my goal.

It was about this moment that tragedy stuck. I…

Change of Plans

It is Saturday morning at 8:22 a.m. If I had stuck to my original plan, I'd be sitting in a classroom right now on campus. But a funny thing happened on the way to the weekend...

Someone commented on my blog.

I'd been debating whether or not to take this class. I decided to see if it was possible for me to finish the paper that was due the first day of class. I even started writing a few paragraphs Wednesday night. But, I woke up Thursday morning and there was a comment on my blog. My own family doesn't even comment on my blog anymore....probably because there isn't much to comment on.

Actually seeing a comment on my blog made me think about updating my blog which made me think about how I'd really like to stay home this weekend and work on the pink sweater which made me think about how I'd really like to stay home and hang out with the Little Guy this weekend.

So I dropped the class. I'm taking Italian anyway and that's enough work.

Here's the late…

Upcoming Plans

Hello! Yeah, so...the blog isn't really my first priority these days (how many times have I said something similar? Hmmmm).

So, I have been doing some knitting. Here is proof.

Will post details on the pattern later, but it is from my Vintage Baby Knits book which I purchased for the cute factor. Note to self - back in vintage times, most baby patterns were knit on size 1 or 2 needles. This, a "quick" baby project is actually not so quick. No matter...I am knitting this large enough that I have plenty of time! Ha! Ha ha!

I am also looking for small, portable project to take with me when D and I head to...Italy!

Yes...the two of us are going to Italy in November. I have a feeling we'll get rained on a bit, but oh well.

Here's the deets:
We are flying into Florence and will spend a couple days there. I've rented a cute little apartment for us with the most darling tiny kitchen you have ever seen! So, we'll sort of wander about for a few days and then head to…

The Next on the List

This past Saturday, the group hit the next restaurant on the list, Saffron Restaurant and Lounge. The chef, Sameh Wadi, has competed on Iron Chef America. He didn't win, but he did impress the judges. Saffron is a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean restaurant. Think hummus, lamb, tagines, those sorts of things. Saffron has been open since 2007, so it is one of the older restaurants on the list. I've been there before, as had Kym and Kyle.

The last time we were there was a few years ago. The restaurant was going through a phase where the wine list was on an iPad. That was sort of the thing there for awhile - menus on iPads. Is anyone still doing that? This time, I was happy to see the wine and drink list on paper. Nothing against iPads...I guess I'm just a traditionalist when it comes to menus.

I started off with a drink called the Mirage - I was attracted by the combo of bourbon and beer in the same drink. It was quite good. David had a Secret Agent - Classic. It's basicall…

A Restaurant Roundup

For the last few months, David and I and a group of friends (mostly the Spain Gang) have been working our way through a list of restaurants. The list was initially made a year and a half to two years ago, but we never got going on it. When we decided to pick it up again, we discovered that several places had closed. And of course, all sorts of wonderful places had opened in the meantime.

The list has been hovering around 17 places. It seems that once we've ticked a few off, we add a few more. We chose the first restaurant by pulling a number out of hat. Since then, we have our server pick a number between 1 and whatever and that determines where we go next. We've only "rigged" the selection once. More on that in a moment.

David and I are the keepers of the list. David is a total Excel dork. Before each visit, we randomize the list and then number it. A different restaurant is always number 1. We think it is more fair that way.

The list is quite eclectic. We've be…

A Running Hiatus

Well, my running ambitions have been put on hold. What? You didn't know I had running ambitions? I do. I have remarked to various people off and on that I'd like to do the TC Marathon in 2013, when I turn 40.

Side note: People who actually run marathons are NOT the best marketers of the experience. Everyone I have ever known who has run a marathon has talked about how much it SUCKED. Apparently, after 20 miles your body just revolts and it's all a mental game. As a particularly lazy person, I'm not sure why this sounds like something I want to do.

David and I have signed up for the entire Monster Series (Polar Dash 5K, Get Lucky 7K, Minneapolis Marathon Relay, Minneapolis Duathlon, and Monster Dash Half-Marathon). Yes...I am going to do a half-marathon. But first, I needed to get ready for the marathon relay. I found a nice 10K training plan which didn't use any words I didn't understand such as fartlek, tempo run, or lactate threshold.

Instead it encouraged me…

More food! More food!

Several months ago, I found a amazing recipe through Pinterest. I am fortunate to have a husband that will eat tofu. There are many people out there that won't. I'm even more fortunate that he will also eat meatless veggie crumbles, meatless sausages, and all sorts of other fake meat products. He may draw the line at turkey bacon. I know I do.

Yes, turkey is real meat. But turkey bacon is fake bacon.

Earlier this week, I was feeling a little lazy and not quite up to making whatever concoction I had planned, so I went with the Carmelized Tofu recipe from 101 Cookbooks. I actually have Heidi Swanson's cookbook, Super Natural Every Day. I bought it at Patina the same day I bought this thing. Both have been handy, but really...this is a much better way to cook eggs in the microwave.

This recipe is a delicious way to make tofu - I'm sure that is primarily because it has three tablespoons of sugar in it (that doesn't sound like a lot...but when you are scooping it out yo…

Behold! A Sock!

Yes, I finished this sock. This is really nothing short of a miracle. It has taken me a year to knit this one sock. I purchased this yarn and pattern one year ago at the Shepherd's Harvest Wool and Sheep Festival. It has been so long since I finished knitting anything that I had to pull out my Vogue knitting book to see how to graft the toe. I discovered that the instructions in that book are really pretty crappy. Fortunately, I had other sources.

Fortunately, it fits! Although, I should have added a few extra rows to the cuff sot the ruffly edge aligned better with my ankle. Next on the needles will be the second sock, and also a baby sweater for a co-worker's little peanut. Since I have no baby-friendly yarn in my stash, I think I'll need to go shopping.

Today has been spent alternating between being incredibly lazy and trying to tackle the pile of crap that hangs out in my bedroom. By being incredibly lazy, I mean playing solitaire on my phone. I'm not talking a gam…

The post in which I pretend to be a food blogger

I'm going to go all "food-blogger" on ya'll here. Why? Well, I've been reading a lot of food blogs. My knitting blog consumption has dropped to, completely zero. I should really start looking at some of my old favorites again, but food blogs are so much more interesting to me right now. People that have food blogs usually have beautiful photos of the most delicious looking food. It gives me many ideas.

Also, at the moment, the state of my knitting is this:

This poor sock has sat in this state for, oh...maybe nearly two months now. All I need to do is graft the toe. That's it. Of course, then I have to start the second sock. In order to get that nice, ripply cuff I have to cast on about 300 stitches, on a size zero needle. You can understand why I am less than enthused about this. It's particularly sad because it's been at least 10 months since I started this sock. Woe to this sock, that may never see the darkness of shoe.

Since I've b…

Vacation reading continued...

I am sure you are all just waiting to find out what I read while I was on vacation!

I finished reading, "Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption, and Baseball's Longest Game" by Dan Barry. What a great read. Even if you don't like baseball or know anythjing about baseball, you could still enjoy this book from a human interest perspective. Sure, it helps to understand terminology such as "ground out to 2nd", "caught looking", and "batter's box", but it isn't necessary. I was pulled in by the telling of people's stories: the batboy, the first-baseman's wife, the kid that made a pact with his dad to stay until the end of the game, no matter what (little did he know). This is what made this book one you didn't want to put down. The Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings played for 32 innings, until 4:09 a.m. Easter Sunday morning, before the game was mercifully suspended until it could be completed two months later.


Vacation Reading

Tomorrow David and I are heading to Florida. Perhaps I mentioned how utterly exhausting our trip to Spain was and how while we were still there I was desperately imagining white sand, a beach chair, some sort alcoholic beverage beside me, and a book.

This little long-long weekend getaway is our answer to this.

This leaves me wondering...what book should I take?

There are two books I am currently reading. David and I are both working our way through the Harry Potter series (he for the first time, me for the second). I could easily finish "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix", but it's quite large and a library book to boot and if it were left behind someplace I would be angry.

I am also about halfway through "The Year of Endless Sorrows" by Adam Rapp. I picked this up at the Guthrie gift shop when we were there for a play (Rapp is a playwright as well). It's about a guy from Minnesota who moves to New York, gets work at a publishing company, has acute …

Happy New Year!

Last night, I went to the the "Travelers Circles" program sponsored by the MN Council of Hosteling International. My friend Jon coordinates some of these programs and I volunteered to go and talk about Spain. I was so nervous! I was sure this would be a group of very well-traveled people (I was right about that) and that I would not be interesting enough, or have beautiful enough pictures to give an adequate presentation (I was wrong).
I had so much fun speaking with them, and everyone was so friendly. Many people afterwards complimented me on my presentation and my pictures. One woman was so sweet and told me how much she enjoyed my energy and how I wouldn't have even needed photos - just listening to me was enough. It was a wonderful evening. I would love to go back to hear some other presentations or even present again. Those of you that know me well know that I really enjoy public speaking, so this was right up my alley.
So, where will David and I go next? Well, we&#…

And finally, the trip ends...

We left Spain on a Tuesday. We had to get up bright and early to get to the airport. Kym, Kyle, Alan, Erin, David, and I were all on the same flight. Lea and Amit were on a later flight, and Kelly an even later one. The six of us were up pretty early, putting all the beds and mattresses back in their proper places, as quietly as possible so the others could continue snoozing.

Sigh. It was sad to leave. It is always hard to see a vacation come to an end. This one was particularly so because I felt there were so many things I still wanted to see. We didn't get nearly enough time in Barcelona or Madrid. I didn't see the bull ring in Sevilla. I wish we'd eaten more tapas. And seen more Flamenco. And we didn't get to see the market in Barcelona. So many things left undone.

But, it was time to go. Fortunately, getting to the airport was relatively quick and painless. Sure, my backpack weighed about a million pounds, what with the wine and olive oil inside. But, we had a very…

Monday, continued yet again!

Surely, you are thinking to yourself....nay, you are muttering under your breath, "seriously, Michelle. Finish up with the trip already."'d have a good point. And, I got to use the words "nay" and "mutter" in the same sentence. Clearly, I'm sort of losing my mind.

There won't be any pictures with this post. This will be where I finish up writing about Monday in Madrid, which I have mentioned before was one of my most favorite days on our Spain trip. Madrid is just an amazing city. Knowing what I know about life, I'm sure I'll be back there someday. Because life is good and lovely. And I'm an optimist.

So, after my little shopping trip, I tried to take a little nap. As I recall, this wasn't too terribly successful. I don't know if I've mentioned this, but the bed in the apartment in Madrid was very noisy. The slightest movement set off a series of squeaks and groans that would only be rivaled by the ominous noi…

Monday, continued...

Doesn't that sound awful? Monday though Mondays aren't bad enough already. Well, if you are in Madrid though, it isn't so bad.

We left the park. It was sad, but we had to do it. I really wanted to see the Plaza Mayor, and we had reservations for a Flamenco show that night that didn't start until 10:30, dangerously close to the "Michelle would rather be in bed" time zone. Okay, SMACK DAB in the middle of that time zone, so I was hoping to get in a nap in the afternoon.

That, and we were kind of hungry. When is that never the case? So, off we went. Here are some random street shots to tide you over.

A building in Madrid.
Another building in Madrid. There were far less people on scooters in Madrid than there were in Barcelona.
Getting to the Plaza Mayor involved another Metro ride. Yippee! I really did enjoy riding the Metro. I liked checking out people's shoes and occasionally there was a musician on board. Amplified and everything. When I re…