Saturday, November 22, 2014

Ice on the river

On this morning's run, I meandered along the Mississippi River, and I couldn't help taking a detour over the river to see what the water looked like.

The early cold snap ended overnight - the temperature was in the mid-30s by 8 a.m. and I liked leaving my gloves at home! - but the stretch of unseasonably cool temperature meant that ice had already started to form on the river. On a gray morning with a touch of fog, I took a minute to marvel at the formations before continuing on my way.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Over the weekend

The weekend started with a lowkey Friday evening during which Josh tested out Wish's habit of resting his chin on the coffee table to see if it was actually comfortable. (The answer is no.)

Then we had Gophers football tickets (we've been to three Gophers games total, and two were in the last two weeks!) and joined last week's tailgating group again for Deep Fryer Day before the 11:00 game. This meant deep-fried everything, including Oreos, which I'd never had in deep-fried form before.

The rest of the weekend included more football, dinner with friends, and a visit to snap some photos of my friend's baby (a Santa hat did appear) before a family dinner on Sunday to celebrate my sister's boyfriend's birthday.

I've finished the fascinating book Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies and am reading Caitlin Moran's How to Build a Girl for this week's book club, with Rainbow Rowell's Attachments waiting on deck. (We also starting listening to Serial over the weekend.) Moosewood vegetarian chili is on tap for later this week - it was supposed to be tonight, but I forgot we were out of bulgur. A new week is underway.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Snowy Monday

A new season stampeded into town this morning with snow, sleet and cold wind. A few inches of snow fell in my city, but sixteen inches fell just over an hour north of here. With colder temperatures predicted for the next week, I think this snow cover is going to stick around for awhile.

Other tidbits to begin the week:

1) This weekend included a first birthday celebration, a 31st birthday celebration, and a dinner-meeting with some of my TCM friends. Josh and I also went to the Gophers game against Iowa, my first visit to TCF Bank Stadium in a couple of years. (It was a big win for the Gophers!)

2) I got a few miles in this morning as the snow was falling. I had a lot of snow in my face by the time I was done, but I'm glad I did it.

3) We bought a shovel yesterday - just in time! I shoveled light snow this morning and Josh cleared an icy and snowy sidewalk this evening.

4) Wish has been scrambling across our living room coffee table's lower shelf when he's running after a ball, but I think this weekend was the first time I noticed him using it as a place to rest.

5) We're hosting a big group for dinner tomorrow. Tonight I made brownies for tomorrow's dessert and I had to cut off an edge to make sure they were okay.

Onward to Tuesday!

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Over the last few months, my miles have ebbed and flowed: a few consistent weeks of training leading up to the Bear Water Run, a few quiet running weeks around our move and Twin Cities Marathon volunteering. Now that we've settled into our house, I'm feeling ready to be more consistent again, and the cooler days are actually helping with that: I balance morning runs with a few miles over the lunch hour again, which I don't do in warmer weather.

I also signed up for the Minneapolis Running 2014 holiday challenge, with different mileage levels ranging from 12 miles per week to 31 miles per week over the next few months. With no race goal or training plan right now, I really appreciate the tracking mechanism to log miles and be accountable. I'm aiming for 18 miles per week to practice consistency and maintaining a good base through the winter.

I loved today's run, which was great both when I was looking up at the clouds...

...and when I looked down and saw a discarded Halloween craft project:

I'm looking forward to more miles in the weeks ahead.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Hello, November

It's November!

Five tidbits to begin the week (and the new month):

1) Election Day is tomorrow! Please vote!

2) I'm still working on Upstairs at the White House: My Life With the First Ladies, and it's fascinating to learn about the families of each presidency.

3) I got some long-overdue new running shoes. I've run in Mizuno Wave Riders for many years, but the update to this shoe earlier this year did not work for me, and I was able to find an earlier version of the same shoe that I used until now. The newest Wave Rider just came out, and I hear its features move back toward the traditional models, so I am looking forward to trying out these shoes (and hoping that they're like my old Mizuno friends).

4) After stumbling across a recipe for spicy tomato cream pasta last week, I tried it out for Sunday dinner (and will be making it again soon, I suspect). I paired it with a kale salad that Nathalia served last weekend with pizza. I modified the pecan topping the same way Natty did, omitting the nutritional yeast and adding parmesan cheese. Creating nice salads doesn't come naturally to me the way it does to some of my friends, and I think this recipe could help me with that.

5) Wish started a new obedience class this week, and I really, really liked the first session. (We've taken a general obedience course and one geared toward reducing aggression toward other dogs.) This one is focused on helping dogs be more at ease with people—specifically, strangers on the street and visitors in our home. Wish is very comfortable with my immediate family, but he's often nervous and unpredictable around other visitors. There are five other dogs in the class, and the atmosphere in our first session was low-key and friendly. Josh and I took him for a long walk on Sunday morning and practiced the training that our teacher assigned, and I love to watch the pup figure out the challenge and respond to it.

Finally, the week began with an almost-sunrise view during today's morning run:

I'm thinking that sighting will provide motivation for at least one more morning run this week.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Home work

In between watching football games this weekend (two key wins on Saturday for both our alma mater and Tennessee!), Josh and I worked on a couple of house projects.

First, Josh installed a light on our back porch. There were wires involved, and he navigated them all. There was a ceiling fan on that fixture when we moved in, but now there is a light, too, so we can spend evenings out there.

Later on Saturday, I decided to assemble my latest Craigslist purchase on my own, since Josh has been putting together plenty of furniture lately and I wanted to practice that skill for myself. I bought an Ikea Expedit bookcase from a woman who was moving out of state, and she was kind of enough to break it down for me so that it could fit in my car. Putting the Expedit together turned out to be a surprisingly fun task, not unlike assembling a jigsaw puzzle.

Just getting started:

Almost done, before getting the drill out for a few bolts to stabilize the whole thing:

The Expedit's home will be in the room we're using as our office. Last week my mom turned this room from bright blue to grayish-periwinkle, a touch more muted than it looks in the above pictures, and we are so grateful for her help, painting skills and enthusiasm.

Today we bought our first ladder, and Josh used it to clear out the gutters.

Then I rented a lawnmower from the local hardware store and Josh mowed the yard, likely the last time we'll need to mow this season. (That rental gives us the chance to do our research over the winter before buying a lawnmower of our own.) You couldn't ask for better weather on the first weekend in November for this kind of project: for one stretch during the sunny afternoon, there was yardwork going on at three consecutive houses on our block. The leaves are falling, another season is on its way, and we're trying to check off most of these little projects before that colder weather arrives.