Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Spam party no more

If you are an avid Miles and Laurel commenter, you may notice something a little different about the feedback process soon. I didn't like that awkward roadblock that makes you type out a barely-legible phrase to get your comment through the spam filter - mostly because I am terrible at guessing the correct letters and have to guess most people feel the same - but I had to put it back up. Blogger is having trouble with spam commenters.

The first time it happened, I was tickled. My First Spam Comment! Then it kept happening...more and more. You guys know I blog for lots of reasons that are just for me - recording daily life, practicing my personal writing voice, and so on - but of course I love, love, love to get comments from readers. And it's a total bummer to get the little email that you've received a new comment from someone who took the time to see what you wrote - and then have it be spam!

(That was a weird little look behind the curtain of Miles and Laurel. Apologies.)

Anyway, I said I was tickled to get my first spam comment, but a small part of me remains tickled, because the spam is oddly creative. Basically, the spammers try to flatter you with over-the-top praise for your wildly amazing blog - sometimes for a random months-old post - and then drop the hammer with their spam links, which are totally and blatantly unrelated to their praise.

Like this one. Well. I'm not sure if "I do not believe I have read through a single thing like that before" counts as a pure compliment. Bad example.

And this one! This made me laugh out loud. "You definitely know how to bring a problem to light and make it important," regarding a post on decorating my mantel. I also burst out laughing again when I read, "It's surprising you are not more popular given that you certainly have the gift."
Finally, the third example. "It's great to come across a blog . . . that isn't the same outdated rehashed material." Any regular reader knows that I am quite adept at rehashing material about my dog, shadows and the sky. I also appreciate the italicized second spam link. MY WEB SITE! DIET!

Okay, now I have mixed feelings about it, but the spam filter's back up. Don't let it stop you, though!

P.S. I teased a recap of a weekend project in yesterday's post. Soon!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ink handiwork

I am proud of the progress our class has made in three sessions!

Uh, disregard "sphinx."
But then we progressed to majuscules - that means capital letters! - and I went right back to square one, trading my ink pen back in for the number two pencil.

I will tell you more tomorrow about a project I did over the weekend - but for now, it's time to start dreaming about majuscules. Good night!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Marvelous Monday: Week 8

Oh, hello!

Here we go! Five marvelous tidbits:
  1. Dinner with two friends tonight = a great way to start the week. It did not hurt that dessert was a leftover helping of Smitten Kitchen's Best Birthday Cake that my friend made over the weekend. Oh, my.
  2. Book report: I'm still working on The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures. I am captivated.
  3. I tried a recipe for the first time yesterday that I filched from my aunt years ago, and it worked out. It's basically seeing what happens to salsa when it's marinated in a sauce made of red wine vinegar and sugar. It's good, good, good - and we brought home a little bit of leftovers after the Oscars were all said and done, too.
  4. This week includes March, a month that includes spring and also me celebrating the old 2-9.
  5. This is huge: OUR SINK GOT FIXED TODAY!!! As some of you know, our sad kitchen sink has been basically non-functional for a long time. We have been working with a plumber and today was the day when it became repaired (actually, replaced). I was literally hooting and hollering with joy. I am so excited to have a functioning kitchen sink.
It's hard to argue with a Monday like that.

P.S. Hi to any new readers who came over from my friend Katie's blog after her sweet and kind words yesterday! I'll get to work on passing it on!

Onward to Tuesday!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Cleaning magic

Wait! Wait! Don't let the title scare you away! This is fun!

A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across a blog post testing a Pinterest cleaning tip: the idea that combining equal parts blue Dawn soap with regular old white vinegar will purportedly clean a bathtub all by itself. You're skeptical, right?! But the blogger - and most of the commenters - said that it worked miracles. It sounded easy enough for me to handle and remember the right ingredients at the grocery store during my next shopping trip, so I filed the idea away. Today the project popped into my head when we were in the cleaning aisle, and I said "WAIT!" (to Josh) and dashed to get the blue Dawn liquid soap and vinegar.

You're supposed to put that solution in a spray bottle, but I don't have one, so I swished it together in a covered plastic bowl and then sloshed it on the shower walls and around the tub with a little scrubbing pad. And then you're supposed to let it sit for an hour, but some of the blog post's commenters had said that the solution dried after sitting that long, so I went back into the bathroom 30 minutes later and wiped it down.

I was pretty pleased: it didn't get the worst marks out of the tub, but the walls were gleaming and the tub looked pretty good. I ran cold water for a little bit and poured pitchers of water down the sides of the shower to make sure it cleared away the soap residue (another potential problem mentioned in the comments). The running water collected and got all bubbly at the bottom of the tub, but I left the room and let it drain on its own.

Then, about half an hour later, I went back in and saw the bubbles in the bottom of the tub. And just out of curiosity, I took the scrubbing pad to the most disgusting significant spots on the tub, and while it wasn't quite as effortless as I had hoped, the stains lifted and disappeared.

And now the tub is totally clean, like you're about to move out of your apartment and you really want your security deposit back level of clean. (We've all been there, but that sentence will probably resonate particularly strongly with my mom, thanks to a certain cleaning frenzy in an old apartment of mine a few years back.) It's cleaner than any tub I've ever had in my possession. I'm not one to get all riled up about cleaning tips, but wow, this one hit a home run and was easy and not scary.

I'm sure I'm the last person in the world to find out about this tactic, but if not, I just had to share. Happy Sunday!

Friday, February 22, 2013


There's more running-related content going on around here than usual lately, huh? I've been shirking the yoga a little this week but have gotten in a few nice runs in the daylight, including one today.

The top five things about today's five-miler:

5. Running with no hat, thanks to temps surging into the 30s.

4. Seeing tons of St. Paul residents out clearing their sidewalks. (YAY and thank you!)

3. Seeing fresh, fluffy, glittery snow all over after a couple of inches fell overnight.

2. Under a mostly cloudy sky, seeing one lone patch of bright sun pop out and shine only on the frozen, snow-covered Mississippi River, making it look like the river was glowing.


1. Seeing a corgi bounding through snowbanks!!!

Happy Friday to you!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Winter wonderland, continued

I went for a run at lunch today, and the breeze and sun and fresh air were just what I needed.

Also, as you may remember from last winter based on my incessant rambling on the topic, I love long, perfect tree shadows against the snow. (I don't even want to look back to see how many posts included tree shadows.) This is roughly the time of the season when I start to appreciate the shadows even more. Is it equidistant on the calendar between fall colors and spring blooms? Either way, I love them.

Anyway, the shadows were out in full glorious force today:

And then there was this poor guy:

Then, right at the end of my run, I looked up and saw a tree full of robins above me - we're talking dozens of robins hanging out in the tree. They looked so lovely and I was so excited that I wanted to snap a photo of one of the groups. I was all, "Spring is on its way!"

Then I felt the tiniest little plop on my shoulder, and while I will choose to believe for the rest of my life that it was one of many seeds falling from that particular tree, I came to my senses that standing agog under a tree full of birds was not the brightest idea. And then I burst out laughing and ran away.

Your Thursday Miles and Laurel.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Not real ones - but nearly as exciting!

I have two big bulletin boards in my workspace, and they don't deserve to be called hideous - they're simply very plain, neutral, and beige. I've been trying to add some color and pizzazz, though, via some snapshots that make me smile, alongside prints I love from the Sabra Field calendar I got in Vermont, which happens to be tied for my all-time favorite calendar with the Weatherguide calendars from my youth. (No joke.)

But even pretty pictures can only go so far. Ages ago, I bought a big piece of colorful fabric, with the intention of covering the bulletin boards. This week I finally did it! It was tremendously easy. I cut the fabric down to the approximate size, folded the edges for little makeshift hems, tucked the fabric behind the bulletin boards and stapled it. It would also be very easy to swap this out for a new piece of fabric every few months for variety.

(I intend to frame these calendar prints eventually.)
I am disproportionately Over The Moon about my pretty bulletin boards now. It is simply amazing the effect that some bright fabric in February can have.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Marvelous Monday: Week 7

Lots to discuss today!

1) Reading report: I finished A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah. It was obvious given the title that the author's experiences as a child soldier during Sierra Leone's civil war in the 1990s were going to come into play, and so I thought I was prepared for those chapters, but as I found out, that type of content really isn't something for which one can prepare. I won't soon forget it. It was the first book I've read on that topic, and it was a remarkable story (and telling of the story). Now I'm finally reading The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Books are a really good way for me to help me keep learning.

2) On Saturday afternoon, I went to a shower celebrating a special mama-to-be that included blessings and messages, awesome children's books, and seriously beautiful cakes. (Thanks to the two hosts who made the event so sweet!) It was wonderful to honor this friend and especially to do so with a group that included several women who I met about 10 years ago, in our first and second years of college. I'm feeling a little sentimental this year about marking a decade of friendship with many of my college friends, and that was the second event in a week where I've spent time with some of them. It is a sweet part of life to experience.

3) I hoped to fit in a longish run yesterday afternoon and was happy I did. I am so not accustomed to running on weekend afternoons - my preference is always the morning even when I'm not training for a marathon. I seriously dragged my feet and somehow even found myself watching Snooki and JWoww on MTV before I came to my senses and got moving. 10 miles: done! The sidewalks here are in pretty bad shape - they're a tricky combination of treacherous-icy and chunky-icy but I made my way over to a cleared park path that was in better condition. Today I ran five miles easy and will take tomorrow as a rest day.

4) I came home from work today and was excited to greet Wish. Sometimes I fling the door open and he gives me this dazed look to make it clear that I've just caught him mid-mega-nap. Today he was waiting for me at the door carrying his favorite ball and ready to play.

5) Tomorrow Sara and I will graduate from pencils to pens at calligraphy class. I am not quite sure yet if that's going to be marvelous, because we both used the word "terrified" to describe this transition. Per the teacher's recommendations, I've been able to practice most days since our last class and it is pretty neat to see progress occur even in this short time span. Make no mistake: my calligraphy is still an absolute mess. But it's inching a tiny bit closer to being, well, not an absolute mess.

Hey! What are you reading right now? Do you think about "friendship anniversaries," if you will? And do readers out there know calligraphy? Please share!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Dog paws

We take Wish to get his nails clipped instead of clipping them ourselves because 1) he has dark nails and we're thus more likely to accidentally cut them too short and 2) he does not seem, shall we say, to liken regular foot maintenance as a soothing pedicure. Taking him in to Petco costs $10 and the whole process is over in about five minutes - so while it's not a day the three of us look forward to, it's the best option. I think it will get easier as he continues to get used to the doctor, the groomer, and so on.

Today was a little first. It was nail-clipping day, but we also requested the fur-between-his-toes trim. His paws had definitely gotten a little wild, but I didn't realize how scraggly until I saw his neatly groomed little toes afterward.

So handsome! I keep laughing whenever I look at those little feet. That's not strange at all.

On the way home, we stopped for Josh to grab us lunch, and I turned around and saw Wish grinning in the backseat and was glad I had my camera in my purse. "I'M SO GLAD THAT'S DONE," he is thinking.

This is his I THINK I SEE JOSH face, by the way, which I love:

Wish won't admit it - well, setting aside the reality that I probably shouldn't expect him to ever admit anything - but he's happy with it.

Now Sunday dinner is on the stove and my calligraphy book is waiting patiently for my daily practice session. I'll recap the rest of the weekend tomorrow. Hope yours was restful and fun!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A pizza-related first

I promise I will connect the title to this post in a second. Just wait.

A couple of inches of fresh snow fell overnight, and this morning's drive to work was so outrageously beautiful I could hardly stand it. I mean, I truly could not stand it. I pulled over and snapped a few photos mid-commute.

And - ready - later in the day, I got to have heart-shaped pizza for the first time in my life! Monumental!

Josh has practice tonight, so we had a lunch date instead to celebrate Valentine's Day. I've heard all about these fabulous heart-shaped pizza specials that restaurants run on Feb. 14 but have never partaken in one.

The pizza was way good, as I feel about most pizzas, and I learned that it's kind of impossible not to grin every time you look down at this funny little pie. My other favorite part was the receipt:

Add a pretty snowy city to a day with a heart-shaped pizza, and I am a happy camper.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Sweet: my sister's birthday dinner tonight. First and foremost: happy 23rd birthday to that wonderful and dear girl!

Sweet: my mom's Valentine's Day cookies: thin sugar cookies with a seriously delightful icing in festive colors. We each got little gift bags full of them, and I noticed mine said "R+J" on it, and I wondered why they were specific to each household. Later, in the mix of the pink swirly cookies, I saw an "R+J" personalized cookie. Oops! A little chunk seems to have broken away.

Sweet: the rose from my dad, an annual Valentine's Day tradition that goes way back. When I got to the restaurant, he had three vases lined up on the table, one each for my brother, sister, and me.

And sweet: the little creeper who snuck into the photo, undoubtedly wondering why he can't be part of the cookie party, too.

I love it all.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Scripting adventure

Oh, my. A couple of months ago, I invited my friend Sara to try a community ed calligraphy class with me. I used to be interested in calligraphy when I was a kid and now harbor dreams of applying my yet-to-be-acquired calligraphy skills to the wedding planning process.

Tonight was our first class!

Three things are already apparent:
  1. We love the class and the teacher. It is a totally different activity than anything I do the rest of the day and thus simultaneously relaxing and challenging.
  2. In the rest of life, I hold my pencil unconventionally and that doesn't fly in calligraphy, so me doing calligraphy is basically as elegant as a T-rex trying to do it.
  3. I have a lot of homework each week now!

I have no idea how much my calligraphy skills will grow, but I can already tell the next six weeks are going to be a good adventure.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Marvelous Monday: Week 6

Yes, it snowed yesterday! After my morning run, I stayed inside for most of the day but took Wish out for an afternoon jaunt around the neighborhood. We scrambled up some snowplow-created snow mountains and he tried to race me down but got tangled in his leash and kind of rolled down instead.

It didn't phase him. He was loving life, while I was loving his little dog smile.

Okay, on to Marvelous Monday:

1) Via Molly, via another blogger, I found PicMonkey over the weekend and am loving the photo-editing website - especially the fun Valentine's Day-appropriate section.

2) After what felt to me like a reading hiatus, I stocked up at the library on Saturday. It will be a major success for me to finish everything before the books are due back there, but I'm excited for the journey. I started with A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah.

3) I start calligraphy class tomorrow!

4) It's my sister's birthday this week. We are having a family dinner to celebrate the big 2-3!

5) This hasn't happened yet but I am writing it down for the sake of accountability. We are about to give Wish a bath. He doesn't know this yet and will probably not like it, but it's time. There! I said it.

What about you, Reader? Something nice happen today to you? Anything exciting coming up this week? Please share!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday long run

As I type, some sort of winter storm has arrived in my neck of the woods. The precipitation is swinging wildly from rain to sleet to snow and back again in no discernable pattern, but I think it's supposed to shift to mostly snow for the rest of the day.

Anyway, I tell you that to explain why I wanted to hurry out for a longish run this morning before all of that moved in. I am so out of practice for weekend long runs, and the days of zipping out for 18 or 20 miles on a weekend morning seemed very far away. But the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run is on my calendar in eight weeks - along with some shorter races and maybe a half-marathon in the plan - so out I went for eight or nine miles.

There was a fine little dusting of snow on St. Paul's sidewalks. I got out early enough so that I wasn't the first person (or creature) to traverse the sidewalks, but I got to see them before the snow layer got trampled. It's not a huge new revelation to most of you that I have an odd love for sidewalk footprints, so I was having a ball watching the morning's history play out on the paths.

There was your standard, of course:

Your Yak-Trax-loving pedestrian:

A little lion all by its lonesome:

And a person running with a rabbit?

Later I was over by the Mississippi River and was fascinated by the ice chunks on the partially frozen river. Isn't it wild?!

Then I turned and headed into the wind, and it started raining, and I stopped taking pictures because hustling toward home sounded much more appealing. The rain started to freeze and make the sidewalks more slippery, and by the end my vest had a little frozen ice layer over the front.

Eight miles done, followed by coffee, cereal, and grapefruit. Let it snow!

Saturday, February 9, 2013


Today was Twin Cities in Motion's Valentine's Day TC 5K at Lake Harriet in Minneapolis! I was there with the TCM committee I'm on, helping out mostly with the photo booth and social media.

Volunteering in a year-round capacity with an organization like TCM shows just how many volunteers it takes to host a successful event - and although we usually stay in our previously-determined volunteer roles, sometimes we pitch in as needed at other areas. Today, for just a few minutes, I got to scoop conversation hearts!

I think there are few people who are completely neutral or on the fence about conversation hearts. Do you love them or hate them? I love them. I thought they looked especially pretty in a huge pile. I also enjoyed a little heart-shaped cookie at the end of the race.

The high is supposed to be 34 today and I had to sternly make myself dress for much colder weather so I could stand outside comfortably all morning. When I got there, I felt the fierce breeze coming off the lake and I was really grateful for my extra layers (and a few packets of handwarmers). Of course, there were still runners in shorts and singlets. Minnesota!

After the race, I stopped at the grocery store to get chocolate chips and the library to pick up some books I had reserved, so I am well-equipped for whatever weather comes my way tomorrow. (It might snow a lot.)

There were lots of dogs in the race today, but Wish was definitely not one of them, so it's time to take him out for a walk. Happy Saturday to you!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Into the sunset

This evening I took Wish for a run-walk - our second this week! - and we trotted around the streets of St. Paul, spending part of the run heading west to watch a blazing winter sunset. Two great things about this:
  1. The sunset is late enough again for me to see it after work. Huge!!
  2. I got to experience a few minutes of life that combined running, a sunset and my dog. If you've ever read this blog before, you know I was loving it.
It was a happy way to start the weekend.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

This Thursday

Tomorrow is Friday!

1) This week I bought my plane ticket to Washington, D.C., for the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run in April! I am so excited for the run and to explore the city and see the people that will be there!

2) This evening I came across a darling slideshow of options for how to dress up one's dog festively for one's wedding day.

3) This winter I have been just terrible at mustering enthusiasm to run outside after work. It's cold and dark (or nearly dark) and just generally kind of lonely. But I got out there today! I tried a little speedwork ladder: one minute hard, one minute easy, two minutes hard, two minutes easy, three minutes hard, three minutes easy, four minutes hard, four minutes easy, and then back down the ladder. When I run outside in the winter on snowy sidewalks, it makes more sense to do my pacing by effort, so workouts based on time rather than distance work well for me. There was one stretch where I was running down a gradual hill but the snow had piled up on the sidewalks, so it felt at least like the downhill was cancelled out because it felt like I was running through sand. It was plenty challenging, but I was glad I did it.

What were today's highlights for you, Reader?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

101 in 1,001 update: January

Oh, I made some forward progress this month!

We start, as usual, with the links:

Last month's recap
The whole list
Track my approximate progress via Google doc

If you peruse those links or have a scary-excellent memory, these goals may seem familiar:

#62 Send one card per week for three months.
Good grief. After oodles of times starting, slipping and then restarting, I think I finally have been on a roll with this one. But I didn't actually keep track of my progress and write down the weeks when I sent cards. Each 101 in 1,001 listmaker reserves the right to check off items as he or she sees fit, and I know this a little nitpicky on my part, but I also count it as forward progress to the day when I actually mark down dropping a card in the mail 12 weeks in a row.

(Begin) #92 Read five classic books
Who read Little Women this month for the first time? ME!

#59 Create a budget
Yes, I did do this. It was very enlightening and got me thinking about how to both cut unnecessary expenses and make the most out of expenses I prioritize (i.e. make sure I have an appropriate phone plan for how I use it, make sure I am maximizing the return on my yoga membership, etc.). I like having numbers in my head now for guidelines about groceries, restaurants, and entertainment (and, you know, bills and savings and those categories, too). Just writing those numbers down has been really helpful, actually, but it will be an ongoing project as I see what my spending looks like in reality over a few months.

(Continue) #47 Volunteer at six races
Yes, I did this - twice in the past few weeks! I volunteered at the Securian Winter Run and helped with the City of Lakes Loppet weekend.

Yesterday I also checked off #11 Go snowshoeing!

I started #48 Write three letters complimenting excellent service and continued #55 Save incrementally for an item or trip. As an aside, I like to think that my headstand efforts are paving the way for me to check off #6 Learn how to do a cartwheel this summer.

This also seems to be about the time in the project when I start checking off items on the list with multiple components. This month: #39 Go to three new-to-me museums (I finished that one with our visit to the Minnesota History Center.)

That leaves me with:
36/101 items complete
17/101 in progress

Hey, that puts me officially over the halfway mark in terms of items launched!

This month, I would like to try a new restaurant. I would also like to begin a project to improve my financial literacy (a book or class), start the "My Day in Six Words" journal and perhaps continue with another classic book or begin an autobiography.

Hey! Reader, do you have a favorite autobiography to recommend? What about a really helpful book to boost my financial literacy?

P.S. Shout out to the University of Tennessee coaching staff for serious recruiting work in a short timespan that made for a very exciting National Signing Day!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Yes!!! I snowshoed!!!

I think you can tell by the combination of my exclamation points and looking closely at this picture that the only problem with my expedition was my totally inadequate low-cut cotton socks!

Josh and I both got snowshoes in the past couple of years as gifts from my parents, and the snow cover in those years has not been conducive to snowshoeing. Josh has never actually been out on his. I went once with my mom on wonderful snow, and I think it spoiled me. I didn't want to go earlier this winter because the snow was packed and icy, and I couldn't tell why it would be much different than going for a walk on packed snow. I want fluff!

Several little clippers have swept through in the past week, dropping a little batch of beautiful, fluffy snow each time. I decided that I had to seize the day and enjoy the fluffy snow. (I feel like I have already typed "snow" at least 600 times.) My real goal is to get out on trails with Josh this weekend (and/or the rest of winter), but I wanted to do a trial run first, so I zipped over to the local golf course for a mini-adventure.

Guess what is the most fun part about snowshoeing? From what I've read, at a lot of places, you don't have to stay on any sort of trail. You can go wherever strikes your fancy! After skiing for years solely on groomed trails, this was totally foreign to me. At the golf course I visited, it was game on: there was a groomed trail for skiers, but there were also tons of tracks from skiers who had forged their own paths. I even saw one other set of snowshoe tracks (and, to be honest, got confused that they were mine and that I had somehow gotten totally turned around).

I hopped onto the golf course next to a makeshift skate-skiing trail. (That kind of trail-blazing skiing is hard work.)

And then I got tromp around wherever I felt like tromping! It was daytime, so I followed this animal's tracks and tromped through a little grove of pine trees.

I tromped under a willow tree for fun. I tried to tromp up a little hill and saw that snowshoeing could indeed be hard work. For the most part, though, I kept my effort easy. It felt like going for a walk to bask in the winter sunshine! I looked up at one point and saw blue skies.

I only stayed out for a short time, just to get the lay of the land, but my snowshoe stint also felt more playful than walking and certainly more than running. I've even spent many hours skiing in similar places, but the element of play in snowshoeing is uncomparable and undeniable.

I had a great time puttering around even in this relatively urban setting. I could usually but not always see cars wherever I was, so even the "not always" part was a little treat. I can only imagine how much fun it would be in a more remote and peaceful park. I am consciously making an effort to add some zip and zest to February, and this was just the ticket.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Marvelous Monday: Week 5

Wow, the weekend flew by. Yesterday was the annual White Elephant party at my parents' house to celebrate the winter birthdays on my mom's side of the family. I wrote about it last year and am glad I peeked at that recap, because we called both last year's party and this year's the 29th annual. Is this intentional, like saying someone is turning 29 for the fifth time? Or did we mark the 30th annual party without realizing it? I hope I was just getting ahead of myself last year.

Anyway, I made (and ate) a ton of that warm black bean dip, visited with my extended family, and also won a community-compiled cookbook from 1986 (in addition to a gift basket that include two floppy disks, a pacific and a Koolaid spoon). Then we went to a Super Bowl party!

Is it any wonder I enjoyed a little bit more coffee than usual this morning? What a weekend! Onward with Marvelous Monday:

1) It was beautiful this weekend: light, fluffy snow and even some periods of sun and very blue skies.

2) Some orange tulips found their way into my cart at the grocery store today.

3) I tried a new recipe for dinner tonight. I've been on a good roll of having luck with new recipes lately, and I really thought the streak was screeching to a halt tonight. I tried spicy sausage pasta, linked to from another blog I read. (Just to be clear: my fault, not the recipe's fault!) Halfway through I realized I wasn't even sure I liked sausage, and no lie, I shattered both the bowl holding the chopped onions and the jar of minced garlic within five minutes. The words...they weren't pretty ones. I just had accepted that a successful dinner wasn't in the cards. And then the recipe called for cheese mixed in, and then cheese on top, and then a pile of chopped green onions on top - and little did it know that cheese and green onions are two of my favorite things. And I liked the final product!

4) After a few days away, I got back to the pavement today over lunch with a five-miler. I was not feeling it pre-run but of course ended up being glad I went - and got a couple of good ideas out of the quiet time, too.

5) I printed pictures courtesy of a Shutterfly offer that I think I mentioned on a previous Marvelous Monday, and they arrived today. I got to look at photos of Wish's birthday hat and Wish playing in the December with Josh, and it made me laugh out loud.

HEY! I keep forgetting to mention that if you see a weird-looking comment in the comment section with a link at the end, don't click on it! I read that Blogger's spam filter is stumbling a little bit, and while the strange comments kind of make me giggle (and usually disappear on their own), I hope no one actually clicks on the links.

But you are welcome to comment, Reader! What'd you do for the Superbowl? Do you have a hard time resisting tulips at this time of year like I do? Do you love poppies and ever wish that they were hardy enough to include in a wedding bouquet? No? Just me? Carry on, then, and have a good week!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Green garnishes

After I cooked shrimp and peanut noodles for dinner last night, I was assembling the fixins' (to borrow a term I used to hate when referenced in school lunch menus on taco day but now have decided to love) and noticed a fairly uncommon sight for February: so much green!

Also, I need to use limes a lot more. Maybe every day. They are a delight.

Happy Sunday to you!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Loppet weekend

It's Loppet time!

I have a family party tomorrow, so I signed up to volunteer with the City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival to support the Saturday events, which include ice cycling, skijoring (skiing with dogs!), snow orienteering and so on. I helped check in other volunteers and answer questions about the schedule. It was such fun to see skiers wandering through such an urban scene - I can't imagine there are many other cities that could pull off something like this, on this scale.

The long course winds through parks and trail systems all over Minneapolis (cutting across a lake or two) before ideally finishing on Hennepin Avenue near the Lake Street intersection, a major activity and traffic hub in this neighborhood. I've never been in Uptown on a year with enough snow to make the full course (and thus this particular finish line) happen, until today. It was so cool to see!

Here's the finishing stretch, with the banner hanging in the distance:

And here's the turn from Lake Street onto Hennepin:

And a little peek farther away:

I also got to see my friend Lindsay, who volunteers in a year-round role with the foundation and coordinates vendors on race weekend. We zipped outside for a quick photo together at the finish line. (Her idea! I swear!) We picked a nearby guy to ask to be our photographer, and I think Lindsay and I both realized as she was asking that he could not have been less interested in snapping the photo but obliged anyway. Oops. Sorry, dude!

There are tons of events still to come, including the tonight's Luminary Loppet for skiers, snowshoers and walkers - and tomorrow's full schedule, too! If you are local, you must bundle up and check it out!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday's five

Consider this the bookend to Marvelous Monday, okay?

Five things I'm loving this Friday:

1) A "meet you at the local grocery store in 10" impromptu visit with Sara.

2) The light snow that is falling gently outside. I am not loving that it covers up a virtual slip-and-slide ice layer on the sidewalks (and probably on the roads, too) but it's beautiful - and a little icing on the cake, I suspect, for...

3) ...the City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival this weekend in Minneapolis! Although I'm not much in the habit of skiing anymore, some of you know that cross-country skiing is near and dear to my heart. I just stinkin' love that there is a ski race that finishes (when snow allows, which it does this year) on Hennepin Avenue in the middle of Uptown in Minneapolis. The festival includes events for kids and families, all the way up to a 33K race. I have friends who are racing and one friend who is a very active volunteer with the Loppet Foundation, so I picked up a volunteer shift tomorrow morning and am excited to support this event.

4) It's February now! That means that in four short weeks, it will be March, which equates to spring in my book.

5) I attended Yoga Sculpt twice this week, for the first time in ages. My muscles are not loving me for it, but I am pleased.

Yoo hoo! What are you up to this weekend? Were there any tiny moments that made you smile today?